Young People Urged To Stand For Councils And DHBs
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Young people urged to stand for councils and DHBs
The Office of the Children's Commissioner is calling for more young people and their advocates to put their names forward for local authority and district health board elections.
Advocacy Manager Trish Grant told the Local Government Conference in Auckland today that the views and voice of children and young people needs to be heard in decisions made about their communities.
"In the words of the Papakura City Council, squeaky wheels receive the most attention and children and young people don't squeak."
"Councils are not just about drains roads; these local authorities create environment that can either be good or bad for young people."
Ms Grant says it can be a challenge for councils to consult children and young people who may not respond to consultation methods used for adults. She says councils need to think about ways of ensuring young people are heard and that their advice is acted on.
"Young people become very cynical if they think organisations are paying lip service to consultation."
Ms Grant says some local authorities such as Christchurch and Waitakere have prioritised the needs of children and young people by employing staff to ensure council policy reflects the views of young people.
Nominations opened on 23 July for DHB elections and Ms Grant also urges young people to put their names forward for those boards. She says research and consultation shows young people have major concerns about access to health services, delivery and costs.
"However young people also have sensible and innovative solutions to health issues, such as a call at our recent child rights symposium for more comprehensive health clinics in schools," Ms Grant says.