Sue gained UE (accredited) and won the history prize when in Form 6. On leaving school she worked briefly in racing stables before getting a position as a reporter for the Matamata Chronicle. From there Sue studied Journalism at ATI where she graduated with a Diploma in Journalism. She gained employment with the Warkworth newspaper and while working there gained a nationwide award for Young Journalist of the Year.
At 19 Sue travelled to the UK, Ireland, Europe and the Middle East on her OE, returning to work on newspapers in Thames and Huntly before becoming editor of the Orewa Community Newspaper at the age of 21.
In her early 20s Sue worked for a trade union, where she got involved in workers’ and women’s rights and it was at that time she joined the NZ Labour Party.
In 1990 she formed the first trade union for stablehands and stud workers and negotiated their first National Award containing wage rates and working conditions.
Following that success she worked for the NZ Nurses Organisation for 12 years, representing health workers and negotiating their wages and conditions at work. After a stint as a self-employed educator of health and safety reps, she was elected to Parliament as a List MP for Labour in 2005.
In her first term of Parliament she was promoted to the role of Junior Government Whip, in her second term she gained promotion to Labour’s front bench as Education Spokeperson. She is currently in her third term, where she has recently been promoted to the Shadow Cabinet, holding the portfolios of Women’s Affairs, ACC and Early Childhood Education.
Presently Sue is working on a Bill that will increase paid parental leave to six months, which has the votes to pass despite opposition from the Government.
Sue and her family (husband and two sons – Quinn (15) and Logan (13) live in Tauwhare and she works mainly in Hamilton and Wellington. She still visitors Matamata regularly where her parents reside.