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Introduction to Youth Parliament 2007

Introduction to Youth Parliament 2007

Youth Parliament 2007 is being held from Sunday 8 – Wednesday 11 July 2007. Youth Parliament aims to help young people understand what goes on in government and give them the opportunity to express their views and opinions to politicians, the government and the public.

Youth Parliament has been held every three to four years since 1994. This is New Zealand’s fifth Youth Parliament.

Young people from around New Zealand have been chosen by their local MP to be a Youth MP. During Youth Parliament 2007, Youth MPs have the opportunity to debate a mock bill, engage in general debate, sit on select committees and ask parliamentary questions of Cabinet Ministers.

Meanwhile their Youth Press Gallery colleagues will be reporting on their activities and making sure they are held accountable to the public.

For the first time in history of Youth Parliament, there is also a contingent of international observers who are visiting New Zealand to observe Youth Parliament 2007 to learn about New Zealand’s government and our processes of democracy. Youth Parliament 2007 is as real as possible – Government personnel and procedures are maintained.

Youth Parliament 2007 is organised by the Ministry of Youth Development on behalf of the Minister of Youth Affairs, and in consultation with the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and New Zealand’s 121 MPs..3

History of Youth Parliament

Youth Parliament was first held in 1994 to mark the 20th anniversary of the lowering of the voting age to 18 years. That inaugural Youth Parliament was a short event with young people coming to Parliament for an education day.

Due to the success of the event, Cabinet invited the Minister of Youth Affairs to hold a Youth Parliament every three years from 1997. This was particularly relevant as it was the first year of an MMP government. After Youth Parliament 1997, the next events were held in 2000 and then 2004. The 2004 event coincided with the 150th anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament and the 30th anniversary of the lowering of the voting age.

Each event has been extended, increasing the scope of what Youth MPs do, introducing the youth reference group, Youth Press Gallery and the international observers, allowing for greater learning by Youth MPs and the communication of young people’s views to the government of the day.

Feedback from Youth Parliament 2004 suggested extending the number of days Youth Parliament was held over, to allow for more events.

For Youth Parliament 2007 the following changes were introduced: • Nation-wide consultation for topics for Youth Parliament 2007 – as well as consulting with government departments and national youth organisations, for Youth Parliament 2007 we have conducted a nation-wide consultation with young people.

• Online elections – this was a new selection process option for MPs to use to select their Youth MP. It involved some MPs selecting three Youth MP candidates who then participated in online elections.

• Caucus sessions – during Youth Parliament 2007 Youth MPs will attend party caucus sessions so they can learn about how decisions are made in caucus. • Panel discussion – Youth MPs are always keen to hear about the life of an MP. We have organised a panel discussion so that they can hear directly from MPs about their journey to Parliament.

• Tabling of reports in Parliament – a report summarising the proceedings of Youth Parliament 2007 (including a copies of the Youth Parliament 2007 select committee reports) will be tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Youth Affairs following Youth Parliament 2007. This means that every MP in the House will receive a copy of the report..

Youth Parliament 2007 Youth MPs

Young people from around New Zealand have been chosen by New Zealand’s 121 Members of Parliament to be a Youth MP for Youth Parliament 2007. Some notable Youth MPs include: •

Zoe Donald, daughter of the late Rod Donald, who has been selected by Jeanette Fitzsimons to be a Youth MP. Zoe will get a realistic and first-hand experience at what her father did during his many years as a Member of Parliament.

• Jenny Suo and Anna Devathasan, the Year 13 Pakuranga College students, who are world famous for revealing the actual vitamin C levels in Ribena. Jenny and Anna have been selected by Paula Bennett and Tim Groser respectively to be Youth MPs.

Kaitlyn Gulland, who has been selected by Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson to be a Youth MP. Kaitlyn was selected from the Van Asch Deaf Education Centre and is a positive example of how a disability does not preclude active citizenship

. Each of the 121 Youth MPs will bring diverse skills, ideas, values and experiences to Youth Parliament 2007. The diverse breakdown among Youth MPs is as follows: • 60% female, 40% male • 19% M a ori or M aori/European • 7% Pacific (including Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island and Niuean) • 3% Indian and Sri Lankan • 4% Chinese and Korean One Youth MP identified themselves as disabled (hearing impaired).

To view the profiles of the Youth Parliament 2007 Youth MPs, go to: http://www.myd.govt.nz/ayv/youthparliament/youthmps/youthmps.

To view the profiles of the Youth Parliament 2007 Maori Electorate Youth MPs, go to: http://www.myd.govt.nz/ayv/youthparliament/maoriyouthmps/maoriyouthmps.

Youth Parliament 2007 Youth Press Gallery Along with 121 Youth MPs, 10 Youth Press Gallery members have been selected from across the country to report on the activities of Youth Parliament 2007 and Youth MPs, with the aim of increasing public awareness of the event and of topical youth issues. The Youth Press Gallery will observe the debate and select committee sessions and then report on them so that the views and recommendations of Youth MPs are presented to other young people, key decision-makers and the general public. They will also get to interview Youth MPs about issues important to young people in New Zealand.

As with Youth Parliament 2007, the Youth Press Gallery aims to duplicate as realistically as possible the actual workings of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. The Youth Press Gallery is made up of a mix of young journalists who are working for daily newspapers, young people studying towards journalism degrees and high school students.

Prior to the commencement of Youth Parliament 2007, there is a workshop being held for the Youth Press Gallery in which a number of New Zealand’s top political journalists are coming to talk to them about their experiences in the Parliamentary Press Gallery,

and to also offer them some tips for reporting on Youth Parliament 2007. Journalists attending this workshop include Duncan Garner, Marie McNicholas, Audrey Young and Brent Edwards. This will be a valuable experience for the 10 aspiring journalists.

Former Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mike Munro, will also be coming to speak to the Youth Press Gallery during the event about his experiences in the Beehive and dealings with journalists.

Youth Parliament 2007 International Observers For the first time at Youth Parliament we will have a contingent of international observers through funding supplied in part by NZAID (New Zealand’s International Aid and Development Agency) and in part by the NZ France Friendship Fund.

We are welcoming 24 international observers from Samoa (2), Tonga (2), Fiji (2), Kiribati (1), Papua New Guinea (1), New Caledonia (6 officials and 7 young people), Myanmar(2) and Solomon Islands (1). These young people will be visiting New Zealand to observe Youth Parliament 2007 to learn about New Zealand’s government and our processes of democracy.

They will also take part in a training day to focus on how they can develop or strengthen national youth organisations and representation in their own countries.

Ends

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