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NZ Runners-Up at World Schools Debating Champs

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**NZ Runners-Up at World Schools Debating Champs**

The New Zealand Schools' Debating Team, sponsored by Russell McVeagh, has finished as runners-up at the World Schools Debating Champs, after losing this morning (NZ time) to England in the Grand Final at the Reagan Centre in Washington D.C.

New Zealand lost the final debate, on whether or not the United Nations Security Council should have more permanent members, on a 5-4 decision - the closest margin possible. New Zealand proposed the motion.

Christopher Bishop of the NZ Schools' Debating Council said that despite the agonising and heart-breaking loss, he was very proud of the New Zealand team. "It's our best result at the World Champs for 13 years", said Mr Bishop. "Debating in New Zealand schools is in very good heart, and this result proves that New Zealand students can foot it with the best in the world", he commented.

New Zealand had won every debate up to this point, finishing first after the preliminary rounds and dropping only two judges' votes throughout the tournament.

The five person Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools' Debating Team comprises Maria English (Captain, Samuel Marsden Collegiate), Holly Jenkins (Sacred
Heart College, Lower Hutt), Jennifer Savage (Wanganui Collegiate), Tom Chen (Hillcrest High School) and Ben Kornfeld (King's College).

The team was selected after representing their various regions at the national finals of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools' Debating Champs, held in May this year.

The team was coached by Julia Fetherston (an Australian law student and champion student debater) and Kevin Moar (a senior policy analyst at the Ministry of Health).

The World Schools' Debating Championships, a prestigious global competition for high school debaters, has been held each year since 1988. This year's tournament involves 39 teams, including England, Wales, Scotland, India, Pakistan, the USA, South Africa, South Korea, and Japan. New Zealand has won the tournament three times since 1988 (in 1991, 1992, and 1995) and hosted the competition in 1994.

The 2009 tournament is in Athens, Greece, in February. New Zealand will send the same team as that for the Washington tournament.

The team arrives home on Wednesday 17 September.


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