East Auckland youth touch on big issues in new political forum

Columns
Friday, July 1, 2016

Young people with a keen interest in local and current issues are being encouraged to join the new East Auckland Youth Forum.

Set up by the area's Youth MPs, Nathan Wilson of Pakuranga, and Isaac Proctor of Botany, the forum intends to inform young people about what is happening in national and local politics.

Wilson, a former Pakuranga College student, says it's an ideal opportunity to get out there and tell their peers what is on the public agenda.

"A lot of young people have the attitude of 'it simply doesn't matter', 'politics doesn't affect me', or 'my vote doesn't count'," he says.

"I really disagree with that and think if we can show that the youth voice does matter, then that will be a great success for us."

The forum is open to young people aged 16 to 25 that live in the Howick ward.

Two representatives from the secondary schools in the area have been invited to join, while four more seats for non-school reps need to be filled, says Wilson.

Macleans College student Tanuvi Garimella‚Äč, the secretary of the forum, says the meetings provide a platform giving youth a voice and a say on national and local issues.

The first meeting was held in late May and discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership international trade deal.

Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross presented the talk and says the forum is an ideal way to interact directly with politicians.

"I feel as MPs we need to engage more with younger people, so the East Auckland Youth Forum is a great way for that to happen."

Proctor, 17, of Elim Christian College, says he hopes the group will create a "ripple-on effect" of passing on information.

"As these representatives get more educated, they will eventually be able to tell their friends about what is going on and how it affects them," he says.

The East Auckland Youth Forum meets every fortnight at 5pm at Botany Downs Secondary College's conference centre.