Politi­cians put to test the by Rewa stu­dents

Manukau Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - KYMBERLEE FER­NAN­DES

Stu­dents from Ma­nurewa High, James Cook High and Al­fris­ton Col­lege had the op­por­tu­nity to bet­ter un­der­stand pol­i­tics at a re­cent de­bate of Ma­nurewa can­di­dates from five dif­fer­ent par­ties.

Hop­ing to get the youth from their elec­torate up and vot­ing this year were the Louisa Wall of the Labour Party, Ka­t­rina Bun­gard of the Na­tional Party, Teanau Tuiono of the Green Party, Tasha Ho­haia of the Maori Party and El­liot Ik­ilei of the Con­ser­va­tive Party.

Is­sues about hous­ing and home­less­ness, im­mi­gra­tion, an in­crease in teen sui­cide, pro­vi­sions for bet­ter health­care and ed­u­ca­tion were among the sev­eral top­ics dis­cussed.

Year 11 stu­dent John Chen says the big is­sues that are close to his heart are the hous­ing cri­sis and the strug­gle be­tween the tourism and agri­cul­ture in­dus­tries.

He says all par­ties are work­ing to­wards the hous­ing cri­sis, ‘‘some bet­ter than oth­ers’’.

‘‘I’m quite pas­sion­ate about the en­vi­ron­ment. With agri­cul­ture pol­lut­ing our rivers and that’s de­stroy­ing our en­vi­ron­ment. That neg­a­tively af­fects our tourism in­dus­try. So what to do we pri­ori­tise?’’

‘‘We should fo­cus on tourism, not just be­cause it brings a lot of money, but we need to re­spect the coun­try that we live in, our land.’’

Sally Pritchard, a mem­ber of the Ma­nurewa Youth Coun­cil, is not pleased with how youth are seen as a ‘‘prob­lem in this coun­try’’.

‘‘Be­ing in the youth coun­cil gives me a chance to change the stigma around youth be­ing the trou­ble, be­ing the that peo­ple don’t vote. There are some of us out there and we are try­ing to do the right thing.’’

She says youth are on a dif­fer­ent stand from the older gen­er­a­tions that are in gov­ern­ment right now.

Ad­di­tion­ally, be­ing an im­mi­grant her­self, she’s con­cerned about im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies.

‘‘I feel there are poli­cies that are try­ing to help but not fully con­nect with im­mi­grants or how we’re seen. There is still a stigma with peo­ple that are com­ing into the coun­try all the time.’’

Stu­dents also ques­tioned how scrap­ping the decile sys­tem will help South Auck­land schools, plans for an ef­fi­cient pub­lic trans­port network, re­duc­ing the num­ber of chil­dren liv­ing in poverty and the abil­ity of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to lead­ing them to suc­cess.

What is­sue are you most con­cerned about this elec­tion? House prices, ed­u­ca­tion, trans­port, en­vi­ron­ment, im­mi­gra­tion, health or poverty.

Go to www.neigh­bourly.co.nz/ mes­sage/view/29441501 to take part in our poll.

‘‘Be­ing in the youth coun­cil gives me a chance to change the stigma around youth be­ing the trou­ble.’’

KYMBERLEE FER­NAN­DES/STUFF

Ma­nurewa can­di­dates and stu­dents at Ma­nurewa High School. From right, Sally Pritchard and John Chen.

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