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Pioneering Youth Research Project Launched

MEDIA RELEASE

EMBARGOED UNTIL FRIDAY FEBRUARY 18 2000, 1.30pm

PIONEERING YOUTH RESEARCH PROJECT LAUNCHED

The Youth First research project enables young people to send a clear message to the government about the realities of growing up in New Zealand, said Youth Affairs Minister Laila Harré.

Speaking at the project's launch at Auckland University, Ms Harré said Youth First recognises that adults don't have the best solutions to the problems faced by young people.

"For too long the government has left the very people affected by youth policies out of the decision making process," Ms Harré said.

"I believe solutions to the problems faced by young people must be driven by young people, and this project is an opportunity for that to happen."

Ms Harré said Youth First tribunals being held around the country will generate valuable information on the issues faced by young people from different walks of life.

"There's no such thing as a panacea for the problems facing young people, and developing effective policies means recognising that New Zealand's youth population is not a homogenous group," she said.

"The responsibility will then lie with policy makers to stop, listen and respond constructively to what young people have said."

ENDS

YOUTH FIRST – KEY POINTS

 Youth First is a University of Auckland research project funded by the Marsden Fund.

 The Youth First research project aims to listen to what young people aged between 10 and 17 from different backgrounds have to say about growing up in New Zealand today.

 Another aim of the project is to assist with the development of innovative ways to address the crises faced by young people.

 Tribunals are the second phase of the Youth First project, and will take place at locations around New Zealand from February to May, including South Auckland, Opotiki, New Plymouth, Whakatane, Hastings and Timaru.

 Young people who can't attend a tribunal or who don't want to speak publicly can comment via the Internet at www.youthfirst.ac.nz.

 The Youth First research team will report to the young people who took part in the tribunals, the communities in which they took place, the government and academia.

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