Teen pair experience politics firsthand
Two Kaiko¯ura students have been given a firsthand experience of politics and the art of negotiation.
Kaiko¯ura High School students Petra Jellyman, 14, and Zacchery Wilson, 15, were selected to attend the National Student Commonwealth Heads of Government programme in August in Wellington.
The pair took up roles as heads of state and government ministers from different countries along with more than 20 students from different schools around New Zealand.
Before they left they had to prepare projects on trade and immigration for their respective countries during the two-day talks in Parliament’s Legislative Council Chamber.
Jellyman said they came up with resolutions over international problems, like the refugee crisis, and everyone had to be in agreement before the resolution could pass.
Wilson said they had three options - to agree, disagree or abstain.
‘‘It was challenging to get everybody to agree on anything because everyone had their different views,’’ she said.
He said the biggest discussions were about nuclear issues and he couldn’t remember any resolution to do with weaponry and nuclear being passed.
Jellyman said he thought the reason was because New Zealand was completely anti-nuclear whereas the countries like Nigeria and India which had uranium wanted to trade and use it for weapons and nuclear power.
‘‘It was a really big debate and I don’t think we came to a consensus we all had a really split opinion.’’
‘‘We had to work to a schedule and quickly move through each debate.’’
She said it could be frustrating, but it was interesting because it meant everyone had to collaborate.
‘‘We gained skills about how to work with other people and negotiate to get a point across.’’
Wilson said he was happy to see other countries’ point of view and thought the slow progress was the reality of international politics.
‘‘It was a little bit frustrating getting everyone to agree on one thing.
‘‘They all had their different opinions because they had researched their individual country and how it felt.’’
Wilson didn’t know whether he would take on a political career, but said it showed the need to be prepared for a lot of negotiations and arguing.
He would happily do it again. ‘‘It was fun making up your own resolutions, and seeing how parliament worked,’’ he said.
Jellyman said it was a good learning experience and she found the process more enjoyable than the outcome.
‘‘It wasn’t the political side that interested me, but how people worked together on world problems.
‘‘The fun part was seeing everyone working together and all the different opinions and everything getting sussed out.’’
Principal John Tait said it was a great insight for young people to find out about power and politics, and why some countries are unable to support each other because of their particular inter- ests.
‘‘Learning those debating skills, and to be able to negotiate with other countries and how to align yourself with allies and all those sorts of things, are useful skills everywhere.
‘‘It doesn’t have to be politics they are a part of life.’’
Kaiko¯ura High School students Zacchery Wilson, 15, and Petra Jellyman, 14, took on a role as heads of state for the National Student CHOGM Programme in Wellington.