By Chris Holden
A young New Zealand politician who died suddenly over the weekend had been working tirelessly on a new Bill which would ensure tenants are told if they are living in a meth-contaminated house.
Sarah Higgins, 24, presented the policy idea to a National Party conference in 2015. If passed, it would mean landlords can enter a tenanted property to test it for meth contamination as long as they give sufficient notice. Landlords would then be required to tell the tenant if it tests positive.
In a Facebook post, Ms Higgins introduced herself as "a young girl from Northland who left home and school at 16 because of dyslexia", and described the experience of pitching her policy as "amazing".
"It's a surreal feeling looking at how far I have come, I'm proud of myself and my country."
After pitching the policy, Ms Higgins worked with Hunua MP Andrew Bayly, who just last month submitted the Members Bill they worked on together to the Parliamentary ballot.
Mr Bayly described Ms Higgins as "a bright young lady who worked tirelessly to serve her community" and had "a bright future ahead of her."
It is understood the Bill has the full support of the National Party caucus and Mr Bayly remains hopeful of Ms Higgins' hard work becoming legislation.
Sarah Higgins (Facebook)
Ms Higgins made headlines in 2013 when she became New Zealand's youngest female politician, following her appointment to the Franklin local board in 2013 at the age of 22.
Board Chairman Andrew Baker described the death of Ms Higgins as an "utter shock."
The death of Ms Higgins is "a loss not only for the board but for the community. It's such a tragic waste of wonderful young life."
Tributes have also continued to flow on Facebook, with one friend describing Ms Higgins as "stunning, kind, smart, perseverant" and someone with "an impressive career in the business and political world and had a massive future ahead of you."
It is understood that arrangements for a funeral in Northland are currently being organised.
Anyone looking for help can contact:
Lifeline 0800 543 354 (24/7) Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865 Youthline 0800 376 633 Depression helpline 0800 111 757 (24/7) Rainbow Youth 0800 726 666