Otaki Youth MP head­ing to par­lia­ment

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

“He’s very en­gaged in pol­i­tics and youth is­sues. He in­ter­viewed re­ally well too,” said O¯ taki MP Nathan Guy about his brand new youth MP Jamie Harper. Rea­son enough to pick him as the next youth MP for the O¯ taki elec­torate.

Jamie was one of two young peo­ple in­ter­viewed by the MP, who will be Jamie’s men­tor for the next eight months as he first pre­pares, then ex­er­cises his duty as youth MP. Six stu­dents ap­plied for this job.

The ses­sion for the ninth youth par­lia­ment starts on March 1 next year and goes on un­til Au­gust 31. High­light will be a two-day ses­sion in Par­lia­ment, on July 16 and 17, when the youth MPs will take over the place. They will give speeches, hold a de­bate, have a se­lect com­mit­tee meeting or will sit in the press gallery. No adults are al­lowed in the house dur­ing that time.

The youth par­lia­ment was es­tab­lished in 1994 to cel­e­brate the low­er­ing of the vot­ing age at that time.

Be­fore the start of the next youth par­lia­ment, Jamie, a Year 11 stu­dent from Horowhenua Col­lege, will be in­tro­duced to the in­ner work­ings of par­lia­ment as much as pos­si­ble and as time al­lows.

“I am en­cour­ag­ing him to come to Welling­ton to get a feel for the place. This way the time in the de­bat­ing cham­ber won’t come as a sur­prise and he’ll do well,” said Nathan Guy, who doesn’t doubt Jamie’s abil­ity to ar­tic­u­late is­sues, nor his gift of the gab.

As youth MP Jamie wants to en­gage young peo­ple around the elec­torate in pol­i­tics.

Youth men­tal health is an is­sue that’s get­ting big­ger each year, said Jamie. He would like to see eas­ier ac­cess to ser­vices for young peo­ple. He said the stigma that says not to tell peo­ple you are not feel­ing too good needs to go.

“It is OK to say you are strug­gling.”

An­other hot topic will be trans­porta­tion into Welling­ton, as is NCEA, where more clar­ity is re­quired, he said.

Jamie and his men­tor will work out a plan of ac­tion for the next few months on how to en­gage youth. This may in­clude de­sign­ing a sur­vey, set­ting up a Facebook page and vis­its to all stu­dent coun­cils at high schools within the elec­torate.

Jamie al­ready sits on the stu­dent coun­cil of his school, but he would like to know what con­cerns stu­dents in other parts of the elec­torate.

He also wants to en­gage with youth who have jobs as well as those who are un­em­ployed and hear their con­cerns.

“De­ci­sions made in par­lia­ment af­fect ev­ery­one,” is his mes­sage and he will be ex­plain­ing why an in­ter­est in pol­i­tics and ex­er­cis­ing the right to vote are im­por­tant.


Otaki ¯ MP Nathan Guy wel­comes his new youth MP, Jamie Harper from Horowhenua Col­lege.

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