Raymond Huo (Chinese name: 霍建强, Huo Jianqiang) is a former Member of Parliament in New Zealand. He was first elected in 2008 as the New Zealand Labour Party's first MP of Chinese descent. He is the third Chinese New Zealander to enter Parliament, after the National Party's Pansy Wong and ACT's Kenneth Wang.
Huo was born in Qianshan, an eastern part of China. Huo's father was a doctor, and his mother was a head nurse. They were in their early thirties when they volunteered to move from the Capital City to Qianshan to help the local population fight Schistosoma, a parasitic disease. It was here that Huo first picked up some of the ideals and beliefs, such as social justice and equity, which would lead him into politics.
Being a medical professional did not spare Huo's father from persecution during the Cultural Revolution. His father—an "intellectual"—was ordered to stand at the gates of the hospital for an hour, three times a day with a white board stating "counter-revolutionary medical expert". Raymond Huo, only 5 years old at the time, joined him with a smaller whiteboard saying "little counter-revolutionary medical expert". He later said he secretly believed it was his little sign that ended the Cultural Revolution soon afterward.
Huo credits his time in the small rural town as a major influence on his desire for free-will that he has carried into his politics and world view.
As a teenager Huo taught himself to speak English in China by listening to the radio. Huo went onto study English at Anhui University in Hefei and Law at China University of Political Studies and Law in Beijing.
Huo emigrated to New Zealand in 1994. He worked as a journalist for the New Zealand Herald where he was the Asian Affairs reporter. He subsequently obtained MLitt (First Class Honours) majoring in political communication and LLB from the University of Auckland. Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Huo practiced law in Auckland at Brookfields and Hesketh Henry.
Member of Parliament
|Parliament of New Zealand|
Huo was elected via the Labour Party list at the 2008 election and appointed as spokesman for Statistics, the Law Commission and Chinese Community Affairs. He also sat on the select committee for Law and Order and a Trustee on the Board of the Asia:New Zealand Foundation. Huo was re-elected in 2011, but due to his party's poor showing in the 2014 election lost his seat in Parliament.
Huo was a strong advocate for Ethnic Representation on the new board of the Auckland Council Super City and submitted the Local Government (Auckland Council) (Asian Advisory Board) Amendment Bill to the House. Although Huo's Bill was voted down in Parliament by 64 votes to 58 on 4 November 2009, the Government soon after announced that an Ethnic Advisory Board Panel would be established on the new council.
Huo has also been vocal about the need for New Zealand to overhaul the Export Education sector which is worth over $2.3 billion to the countries economy. Huo believes that New Zealand has a reputation for "ghetto education" in Asian countries and must change this or risk losing hundreds of International students from the Asian region.
In February 2011 Huo said because of its economic importance, he will write to the Prime Minister to adopt the Education (export education by private training establishments) Amendment Bill to be included in the current Education Amendment Bill (No 4).
Following Russel Norman's controversial protest to PRC Vice President Xi Jinping during Xi's 2010 visit to New Zealand, Huo write a blog entry defending Chinese rule over Tibet. Thuten Kesang, spokesperson for the New Zealand Tibetan community, accused Huo of "promoting communist China progaganda" and said he would lay a formal complaint with the Labour Party.
Huo has published a number of books and articles including, Now in New Zealand, Something to Crow About, Jinma: Philosophy on Wisdom and Human Life (five volumes), Simplified American novels with Chinese notes: Love of Life, Life in the woods and five others, Lexicon of Contemporary English, Collected Works with Equivalent Chinese and Lexicon of Contemporary English, a Concise Edition  Huo's latest book, The New Zealand Quartet, detailing his life and career in New Zealand, was slated for release in late 2011.
- Trevett, Claire (26 January 2009). "New voices: Nikki Kaye, Todd McClay, Raymond Huo". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- Tan, Lincoln (4 November 2009). "Asian input critical to city's future, says Huo". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- Tan, Lincoln (16 February 2011). "'Ghetto education' creates suspicion in major market". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- Tan, Lincoln (3 July 2010). "MP's pro-China blog appals Tibet's friends". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2011.