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Young people should be seen and heard

6 July, 2004

Young people should be seen and heard

Green MP Nandor Tanczos added his full support today to the idea of a National Youth Council, saying a nationwide young people's forum would be a step forward for the young people of New Zealand.

Nandor, the Green spokesperson for Youth Affairs, said he welcomed the resolve by an estimated 80 representatives at Dunedin's Youth in Local Government Conference to initiate a national body to express youth concerns.

"One of the biggest difficulties that youth councils face around New Zealand is that they struggle to be heard by local councils and find it hard to influence council decisions that affect young people," said Nandor.

"Some councils are better than others at listening to young people, others simply pay lip service.

"A national youth council would help provide a stronger voice for young people and help them discuss issues of mandate and how to influence council decisions. A key part of this is understanding what they can actually do."

Nandor said that younger generations have always tended to be ignored by decision makers - who often forgot that they were once young also.

"One of the big problems in New Zealand society is that we talk a lot about young people - mostly about the problems they cause - but we rarely listen to them.

"I congratulate the councils that have shown a clear willingness to listen to young people and include their views in the decision making process.

"It's essential that our local councils show some leadership by helping the vision of the adults of tomorrow become a reality today," said Nandor.

ENDS

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