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Alliance Youth Policy: Vital, Vibrant (2)

Alliance Youth Policy: Vital, Vibrant and Ready to Take on the World!

The Alliance believes that the era of seen and not heard has passed. It’s beyond time that the energy and vitality of young New Zealanders was given a chance to shine through; that having opinions and beliefs is not punishable for under 25s; and that the vitality of youth is an asset not a liability to New Zealand’s social and economic framework.

If we continue to regard young New Zealanders as “adults in waiting” we will never allow them to be themselves. The Alliance believes that self-expression and developing a strong identity are the keys to healthy, happy young people. Pigeon-holing according to gender, culture, socio-economic status or sexual orientation has been an effective way of keeping young people in check. The Alliance believes that resources should be diverted into enabling young people to explore and express their identities.

The Alliance believes that young people are neither problems to be solved nor accidents waiting to happen.

The Alliance Youth Policy takes a fresh approach to the way that society treats young people. All young New Zealanders should be able to grow into healthy, happy adults. This policy is about removing any barriers that prevent or inhibit that from happening.

The highlights of our policy:

A Nationwide Commercial-free Youth Radio Network
The policy work is done, all that’s waiting is the political will to implement it. The Alliance will do that as a priority if it is part of the next Government. Young New Zealanders have a right to a radio station that treats them as citizens – not just consumers

The National Youth Radio Network (YRN) would showcase young talent from all over New Zealand. 50/50 music/talk, the YRN would be a dynamic mixture of NZ music, talkback, radio drama, documentaries, information on sexual health, employment, education and training, legal rights…

It will be run and programmed by young people, for young people

Abolition of the Youth Minimum Wage for 16 and 17 year olds and a Minimum Wage for Under 16s
Thanks to the Alliance, 18 and 19 year olds now get the adult minimum wage ($8/hr), and 16 and 17 year olds have had an increase in their minimum wage from $4.20 an hour to $6.40 an hour. The Alliance believes young workers should have the same employment rights and protections as adult workers – including the rate of pay.

Under16s would have a new after-school minimum wage.

Restoration of the Training Benefit for 16 and 17 year olds
Young people can leave school at the age of 16. The Alliance believes that if 16 and 17 year olds are not in work they should be supported to gain qualifications and further training. It only costs $12 million. We believe its better to have young people receiving an income to train than sitting at home bored.

Youth Health Centres and school health services
The Alliance will support the development of Youth One Stop Health Centres. These will be free of charge and will address a broad range of social and health needs. We will fund more health services in schools.

Sexual and Reproductive Health
The Alliance is very concerned at the high rates of sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies and abortion amongst young New Zealanders. We do not support an abstinence-only approach and believe that young people have an absolute right to sexual and reproductive health education and information.

Visits to family planning, doctors and public sexual health clinics will be free. Condoms and lubricants will be freely available and their use will be actively promoted.

Youth Participation
The Alliance will work with youth representatives (eg youth councils, unions and other non governmental organisations) to discuss the possibility of establishing a National Youth Council to enhance youth participation in decision-making. The Alliance will encourage the ongoing implementation of the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa at all levels of governance.
Drugs and Alcohol
The Alliance takes a harm minimisation approach to drug and alcohol abuse and as such supports the decriminalisation of cannabis (Mana Motuhake MPs within the Alliance will be free to vote against the liberalisation of cannabis laws). The Alliance supports a minimum age of 18 for the use of cannabis and alcohol. We believe that there should be more effective enforcement of such age restrictions. We will put in place a strong public education campaign aimed at young people, their parents and caregivers to support this policy.

Repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act
The Alliance will repeal s59 of the Crimes Act to ensure that children and young people have the same legal protections against physical violence as adults. Repealing Section 59 is in line with New Zealand’s international commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Youth Suicide Prevention, Youth Mental Health and the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa
The Alliance agrees with Youth Development experts that the best way to reduce youth suicide is through positive youth development policies that foster healthy, strong, supported young people, as well as youth-oriented mental health services. As a government we will continue to promote the implementation of the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa across all government departments and at a local government and community level.
While rates of youth suicide remain so high, however, the Alliance believes that the Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy must remain a priority across core government agencies.
A high quality evidence based approach to youth depression and drug and alcohol abuse will be taken and this will be fully funded by government.

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