Search for Rotorua's next Youth MP begins

News
Friday, September 4, 2015

When issues come before Parliament, most MPs consult with members of their community to get a better understanding of the impacts changes might have. It is important to also recognise that young adults often have a voice and and opinion. Too often this voice is not heard when it comes to the big decisions. It is not just high-profile issues like the flag referendum, climate change, or the purchase age of alcohol that will affect their lives, but all issues that impact on New Zealand. We need to encourage more young people to engage in the decision-making that guides our country.

One of the highlights of being an MP is getting out in the community and meeting the people who make our city great. I particularly enjoy visiting schools in the electorate on a regular basis. I continue to be amazed at the fantastic work our teachers do in giving our young people the best start in life – a world class education. It’s also a great way to meet with and speak to future leaders in our community, and see what issues are important to them.

It’s important that parliament and politics is inclusive and accessible to everyone, especially young Kiwis. To help educate young people, and identify potential leaders, every three years Parliament opens its doors and becomes a dedicated forum for New Zealand’s young people. Youth Parliament began in 1994 and gives a young person from our community a chance to be a Youth MP for a year.

My previous two Rotorua Youth MPs, Tania Tapsell and Mark Robilliard found Youth Parliament a great way of engaging with the community and enjoyed their experiences as youth leaders. In fact, at the last local body elections, Tania Tapsell – my Youth MP in 2010 – was elected to the Rotorua Lakes Council. At 21 years-old, Tania became New Zealand's youngest councillor after being heavily involved in the community.

This week I began the search for the Rotorua Electorate's next Youth MP. 121 Youth MPs from around the country will debate legislation, sit on select committees, and ask oral questions to real Ministers. The person selected for Rotorua will get to sit in my chair in Parliament and also consider some of my Ministerial responsibilities.

I’m looking for someone who is between 16-18, is active in their school and wider community, who is passionate about youth issues, politics and being involved in making a difference to our community, and who will be able to represent the views and opinions of the young people in our community. To apply, a CV and an essay on why you should represent Rotorua at Youth Parliament can be posted or dropped off to my electorate office at 1301 Amohau Street, or emailed to Rotorua.MP@parliament.govt.nz.

This is a great chance for someone to step up and be the voice for young people in the Rotorua electorate. Youth Parliament gets young people involved with the political process, they get to meet like-minded young people from around New Zealand, and we have the opportunity to identify and foster future leaders.

Think you have what it takes to represent Rotorua at Youth Parliament 2016? Apply now.