Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Youth Parliament sits in Wellington

Young people from across Aotearoa New Zealand will take centre stage at a two-day Youth Parliament event in Wellington beginning today.

Youth Parliament is an opportunity for young people from across the country to experience the parliamentary process and learn how government works.

Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard said participants have been actively working in communities on issues they are passionate about since the program began.

“[…] members of the Youth Press Gallery have been reporting on this mahi, and our very first Youth Clerk has been discovering the inner workings of parliamentary procedure,” Mr Mallard said.

Now, they will all converge in Wellington to take part in an immersive two-day event which will replicate the actual activity of the New Zealand Parliament, he said.

Minister for Youth, Priyanca Radhakrishnan said the Youth Parliament event would be an unforgettable experience for the 139 participants.

“Over the next two days, Youth MPs will take part in mock debates, attend caucus sessions, sit on select committees, and ask oral questions of Ministers,” Minister Radhakrishnan said. 

“Our Youth Clerk will support sessions in the House, and the Youth Press Gallery members will continue to hone their journalistic talents, while learning about the workings of government from the perspective of the Press Gallery.

“We need to normalise and encourage the youth voice at the table, and this event is one way to enable it.”

Clerk of the House, David Wilson said this triennial event helped to break down barriers to make Parliament more accessible.

“Parliament operates with unique rules that you won’t see anywhere else in New Zealand, and that can make it difficult to understand,” Mr Wilson said. 

“New Zealand’s Parliament is for everyone, and during their time on precinct, participants have a special opportunity to learn about the mechanisms of Parliament and how they serve to benefit our country, from within the heart of our democracy.”

After the Youth Parliament event, participants have six weeks to continue working in their communities and finish projects before the 2022 tenure comes to an end.

“Our Parliament, and Youth Parliament, must be representative of the varied communities across Aotearoa and it has been heartening to hear the unique views, issues, and experiences of our diverse group of young people representing different communities,” Minister Radhakrishnan said.

“I’ve seen them working hard in their electorate and communities, and I know this is just the start for these rising stars,” she said.

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