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Introducing Tali Williams, Youth MP

24 August 2000 Media Statement
Tali Williams
Phillida Bunkle

Introducing Tali Williams, Youth MP

Wellington student Tali Williams, is one of 120 young people taking part in this year's Youth Parliament.

Tali, an 18-year-old Massey University student, will represent Alliance MP and government minister Phillida Bunkle at the two-day event, which starts on Monday 28 August.

Encouraging youth participation in politics and parliament has been the driving force behind Tali's decision to join in this year's activities. Each Member of Parliament has selected a young person to take their seat in the House during Youth Parliament sittings. The representatives will sit on select committees, ask questions of Ministers, debate in the house and field media questions put to them by the Youth Parliamentary press gallery.

The big debate for youth MPs this year is whether personal use of marijuana should be decriminalised.

Tali said Youth Parliament 2000 also gives young people the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of parliament. "A national voice for young people is desperately needed in New Zealand," she said.

"This is a great opportunity to turn up the volume on issues that we care about. It provides a vital knowledge base for us and having an understanding of parliament's operations will be very empowering."

Tali has been involved in educating young people with an interest in politics and social justice for a few years. Last year she was regional coordinator for the national Youth Network and is currently an organiser with the Youth Union Movement.

"It is a popular untruth that young people are not interested in 'the big issues' and that those issues should be left to adults. But the energy and enthusiasm that I have encountered among the young people I have known over the past few years proves otherwise."

"The popular response from those involved in Youth Parliament is another indication that we want our opinions heard and counted," Tali said.

Youth suicide is another issue Tali says needs to be addressed. "We need to look at why this is happening.

"Many young people feel they have lost control of their own lives. In order for them to feel worthwhile in society again a little power has to be given back to them"

Tali sees Youth Parliament as the perfect opportunity to do so.


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