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Spit in the eye for Youth Week

11 May 2005

Spit in the eye for Youth Week

Matt Robson should apologise to young people for introducing during Youth Week a bill designed to criminalise them for something they can legally do now, Green Youth Affairs spokesperson Nandor Tanczos said.

"It's an insult to the young people of this country to be debating during Youth Week a bill that once again makes it illegal for people under 20 to purchase alcohol. It seems Mr Robson wants to punish young people for participating in the binge drinking problem that society has created," said Nandor.

"It is a typical example of grey hairs talking about young people without talking to them. We need to start listening a bit instead."

Nandor said that the challenge of Youth Week to decision-makers is how they engage with young people.

"I often hear that young people don't care and don't get involved. That's often just an excuse to ignore what young people are actually saying."

Youth Week's theme this year is "RE:DEFINE - Challenging Youth Stereotypes".

"The biggest and most self-serving stereotype about young people is that they don't care about the world around them," Nandor said. "That is not my experience. They may boycott processes that marginalise their views, but the challenge to the rest of us is to ask 'What we are doing to really listen?'"

On Monday, the Electoral Enrolment Centre released figures showing increasing interest in voting among young people.

"This is good news. Young people need to get involved this election to ensure we get a government which will represent their views," Nandor said.

"Young people are the ones who will have to live longest with the decisions we make today. They need to make sure they have a say."

Nandor suggested ten reasons why young people are more likely to support the Greens, saying the Greens would:
1) Ensure that they will have a planet worth inheriting.
2) Promote Aotearoa as an Econation, with inclusive communities and a strong, sustainable economy.
3) Abolish youth wage rates.
4) Introduce a universal living allowance for students set at the level of the unemployment benefit, introduce a debt write-off scheme for graduates who stay in Aotearoa, and cap tertiary fees.
5) Replace the Independent Youth Benefit with benefits for unemployed and sick young people aged 16 and 17.
6) Introduce an Independent Review panel to review Board of Trustees suspensions and expulsions.
7) Incorporate environmental education, te reo and civics education at all levels in the curriculum.
8) Support schools and youth organisations to reduce the unacceptably high level of suicide and drug abuse among youth.
9) Ensure a comprehensive and effective drug education programme is available in schools and communities, which gives young people real education about the risks and how to protect themselves from drug harm.
10) Introduce consistent age restrictions for all legislation.


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