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Teens to "take over" during Youth Parliament 2007

12 December 2006 Media Statement

Teens to "take over" during Youth Parliament 2007

What if teenagers ran the country?

From mid-next year, 120 young people from around the country will get a taste of exactly that during the fifth Youth Parliament, announced today by Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

"Youth Parliament first began 12 years ago as a way of helping young people understand what goes on in government and to give them the chance to express their views and opinions to politicians and the public, so it’s a privilege to launch this, the fifth Youth Parliament," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"It's also a fantastic opportunity for young people to experience leadership, get involved in decision-making, and take a stand on important issues of the day which are relevant to them and their peers."

Held once every parliamentary term, Youth Parliament mirrors the real parliament. As youth MPs, the teens will engage in general debate in the House, discuss mock Bills, sit on Select Committees, ask questions of Cabinet Ministers and take tours within the parliamentary complex.

Also keeping the youth MPs 'honest' will be 10 youth press gallery reporters, who will cover the proceedings.

"Youth Parliament involves each Member of Parliament selecting a young person to represent their ‘seat’ as a youth MP, with current MPs encouraged to select a young person who they think will best represent the views of their peers, so that the widest possible cross-section of young people are represented.

The Youth MPs, aged 16 -18, will be selected over the coming months, with Youth Parliament 2007 tentatively scheduled for July 2007, pending the release of the 2007 Parliamentary calendar.

Organised by the Ministry of Youth Development in consultation with the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minister of Youth Affairs and MPs, the first New Zealand Youth Parliament was held in 1994. The event was so successful the Government decided to hold a Youth Parliament each parliamentary term, Nanaia Mahuta said.


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