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Youth representative to sit at council table

Youth representative to sit at council table

Rotorua District Council is to invite members of the district’s Youth Council to join them at the table for council meetings throughout 2014.

The decision was made at last night’s [6 March] monthly meeting of the full council and would see a youth councillor sitting with the mayor and councillors, on a rotational basis, at each council meeting.
Mayor Steve Chadwick said the initiative would provide youth councillors with the opportunity to experience local government democracy in action, and to better understand the obligations and processes that come with elected member roles.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for our youth councillors to grow their own leadership skills and to see first-hand how councillors interact with each other as they go-about their important decision-making responsibilities.
“While youth councillors won’t have voting rights at our meetings, I anticipate we’ll be asking them for a young person’s perspective on issues as they arise.”

“The council’s decision dovetails with our new Rotorua 2030 vision and goals, particularly the development of our People Strategy which has a youth strand being coordinated by Councillor Tania Tapsell.
“Tania herself is a former youth councillor and a wonderful example of someone who has been part of the Rotorua Youth Council while building leadership skills that have ultimately seen her elected as a Rotorua district councillor.
Cr Tania Tapsell said she was very pleased with the council's unanimous decision as it represented clear acknowledgement of the importance of youth in our community.

"The invitation to youth councillors to join us at council meetings gives effect to our aspirations for young people to achieve their potential as future leaders."
Mrs Chadwick said the decision supports the council’s Young Persons’ Policy, which prescribes a framework where young people “are supported to be successful through building confidence, skills and opportunities.”
“Our policy also states that young people ‘need to be given opportunities to have greater influence over what happens to them, through seeking their advice, participation and engagement’ in civic and community matters.
Mrs Chadwick said Rotorua had a larger proportion of young people than most districts and in the future she would like to see them better represented at the council table.

“So having a youth councillor at council meetings is hopefully a good start to a transformation over time towards a council that better reflects the broad diversity of our community,” said Mrs Chadwick.


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