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.

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