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Young people to face MPs in UNICEF NZ Election Debate

Young people to face MPs in UNICEF NZ Election Debate

The UNICEF New Zealand Youth vs MPs Election Debate takes place today (22 July) at the Beehive Theatrette providing a unique platform for young people to debate issues of importance ahead of the 2014 general election.

UNICEF NZ will also be live streaming the event so that New Zealanders all over the country can watch and engage with the debate by using the hashtag #YouthvsMPs on Twitter (www.unicef.org.nz/YouthvsMPs).

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director at UNICEF NZ said, “The aim of the debate is to provide young people with the platform and confidence to participate in political dialogue and to advocate for issues that affect them now and even more so in the future.

“People under 18 are not yet able to vote so who is looking out for their interests? People who are over 18 can vote but voter turnout among young people in New Zealand is much lower than all other age groups and we want to see this trend reversed.”

Simon O’Connor, MP for Tamaki, and Andrew Little, Labour MP, will co-host the debate at Parliament which will be moderated by Linda Clark.

Six young people will debate against six MPs in two motions:

• ‘NZ is a great place to be a child’: MPs Simon O’Connor (National Party), Andrew Little (Labour Party), Metiria Turei (Green Party) will debate Ruby Sands (UNICEF NZ Youth Ambassador), Rawinia Thompson (Vic Uni Students' Association), and Bing Ying Lou (Wellington City Youth Councillor) for the domestic debate.

• ‘Aid is the best way to combat global poverty’: MPs John Hayes (National Party), Tracey Martin (New Zealand First Party), Jan Logie (Green Party) will debate Holly Walmsley (Vic IDS), Victoria Rea (UN Youth) and Quan Nguyen (Vic IDS) for the international debate.

Mr McKinlay added, “The debate will provide a chance to highlight issues affecting children both here in NZ and overseas.

“We wish to thank all of the MPs and young people involved and we are encouraged to see the cross party support represented here.

“Our hope is that the debate will ignite young people’s interest and participation in politics ahead of the upcoming election in September.”

The Youth vs MPs Election Debate is part of UNICEF NZ’s wider youth engagement programme which aims to engage and empower young people in New Zealand. This includes our Youth Ambassador and Child Rights Education programmes as well as the annual Youth Congress.

For more information about the UNICEF NZ Youth vs MPSs Election Debate, please go to www.unicef.org.nz/YouthvsMPs

-ends-

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