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Auckland Council Fails to put Children First

Auckland Council Fails to put Children and Young People First

Manurewa Local Board Deputy Chair Simeon Brown says Auckland Council is failing to deliver on the Auckland Plan's number one priority to 'put children and young people first' with the new "Empowering Communities Approach" introduced last week.

"The Auckland Plan clearly states that Auckland Council has a commitment to ensure our young people are heard, however these most recent changes to the Community Development arm of Council have stripped Council support for our Youth Councils and for the Youth Advisory Panel which advises the Governing Body and Mayor," Says Manurewa Local Board Deputy Chair Simeon Brown.

"The Auckland Plan says, "Children and young people’s interests matter because the energy of children and young people, and their vision for the future are vital for the city and for the country. Auckland’s children and young people are our future," yet the Council fails to respect the role that our Youth Councils play in informing elected officials of what our young people think through removing front line staff which supported the Youth Councils.

"As the inaugural chairperson of the Manurewa Youth Council I know first-hand how important it is for us the Manurewa Youth Council to have a close relationship with Council through local community facilitators to ensure the voices of young people are heard on the decisions which impact them.

"Whether that relationship was keeping the Youth Council up-to-date with what was happening within council, ensuring the smooth running of events or advice on operational matters that relationship was critical to our success.

"Now through these changes that support has disappeared and there is still no plan how the gap will be filled leaving young people unsupported, and Council abandoning its priority toward young people under the Auckland Plan.

Manurewa Youth Council Chairperson Kieran Henderson says that over one week has passed since the "Empowering Communities Approach" was implemented and he is still waiting to hear how Council will support the Youth Council going forward.

"We have been left in limbo at the most important time of the year as we are actively recruiting for new members to sit on the Manurewa Youth Council in 2016," says Kieran Henderson.

"These changes could not have happened at a worse time.

"We still don't know what support Auckland Council will be giving to the Manurewa Youth Council, who will be giving that support, and what that will look like over the coming year. It becomes impossible to plan, more difficult be heard, and we lack the care needed for our interests to be taken into consideration," Says Mr Henderson.

ENDS

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