Mr Kaushal seeks youth vote

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

TEEN lo­cal board can­di­date Shail Kaushal is hop­ing to in­fect other youth with his pas­sion for pol­i­tics.

The 19-year-old is vy­ing for one of six spots on the the Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board in the up­com­ing elec­tions and he wants his can­di­dacy to in­spire other young peo­ple to get in­volved with the process.

‘‘I’m the youngest can­di­date in this elec­tion, per­haps the youngest can­di­date in the coun­try right now for th­ese lo­cal body elec­tions,’’ the Mt Roskill res­i­dent says.

‘‘It’s very im­por­tant that young peo­ple have a de­cent say. In 30 years’ time our gen­er­a­tion will be it. So we have to lay the foun­da­tions now for a de­cent so­ci­ety for the fu­ture.’’

Mr Kaushal is con­cerned about the low rates of youth vot­ing fol­low­ing the turn out for the 2010 elec­tions.

‘‘If you look at Auck­land cen­tral, I be­lieve it is be­low 50 per cent for 18-24 year olds. If you look at Roskill we are in the mid-60 per cent range, when we should be in the high 90s.’’

The In­dian-born teenager was drawn to lo­cal pol­i­tics af­ter watch­ing his fa­ther work the night­shift to build up his ca­reer in hos­pi­tal­ity af­ter they ar­rived in New Zealand a decade ago with very lit­tle money.

‘‘It taught me dur­ing that time about com­mu­nity and fam­ily val­ues. You have to stick to­gether when times are tough. And that if you work hard enough you can ac­tu­ally achieve just about any­thing,’’ he says.

‘‘I be­lieve with hard work and equal op­por­tu­ni­ties you can ac­tu­ally make a dif­fer­ence.’’

Mr Kaushal’s run­ning mates are the team from Roskill Com­mu­nity Voice: Harry Doig, Julie Fairey, Garth Houltham, Michael Wood and David Holm.

The group is cam­paign­ing on sev­eral is­sues that are close to Mr Kaushal’s heart, in­clud­ing bring­ing a rail sys­tem to Mt Roskill.

‘‘Like a ma­jor­ity of our peo­ple, I am a pub­lic trans­port user, and I think it is ter­ri­ble that we only have buses as an op­tion. It would be re­ally great if we can get trains here. The ma­jor­ity of Auck­land does have trains ac­cess, it is the Roskill com­mu­nity that is be­ing ne­glected.

‘‘For the last 60 years there have been plans to give Roskill rail ac­cess but there has been no ac­tion been taken, so we have de­cided enough is enough.’’

The Auck­land Univer­sity stu­dent is also keen to see the Mt Roskill town cen­tre re­ceive an up­grade and he wants the un­sightly py­lons that de­grade the area’s land­scape put un­der­ground.

He says it is by vot­ing that the Mt Roskill com­mu­nity can en­sure they im­ple­ment a lo­cal board that will fight for re­sources and at­ten­tion for the fu­ture.

‘‘We need a lo­cal board that stands up for ev­ery Roskill mem­ber, so that’s why I’m ask­ing all the youth to go out there and vote.’’

Vot­ing for the lo­cal body elec­tions runs from Septem­ber 20 un­til Oc­to­ber 12.

It is a le­gal re­quire­ment to reg­is­ter to vote. El­i­gi­ble vot­ers need to be en­rolled by Au­gust 23. Find out how to en­rol at elec­tions.org.nz.

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Young blood: Shail Kaushal is pos­si­bly the youngest can­di­date in the up­com­ing lo­cal body elec­tions.

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