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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: PR Dept

Five Kiwi politicians – including Minister for Youth Peeni Henare and Minister for Children Tracey Martin – were tonight quizzed by youth on a range of political issues from period poverty to single-use plastics to youth homelessness during a virtual ‘Hotseat’ debate.

Hosted by Save the Children New Zealand and GirlGuiding New Zealand and facilitated by MC Watene Campbell, the Youth-Led Political Hotseat saw a panel of six youth leaders asking Hotseat Guests Simeon Brown (National Party), Donna Pokere-Phillips (Māori Party), Felix Poole (ACT Party) and Henare and Martin where they stood on issues including the Cannabis and End of Life Choice referendums, as well as the need for civics education in schools, online safety, and the impact of COVID-19 on learning.

Around 500 people from around the country joined the session via Zoom or the Save the Children Facebook page, submitting questions live through the chat function during the debate.

Rangatahi panellist Kritika Selach, 16, a student trustee on the Rosehill College Board and secretary of the Papakura Youth Council, says she was extremely excited to be part of the Hotseat, as she has a passion for politics and advocacy, and is particularly interested in the mental wellbeing and hauora of young people.

“I have led various events and initiatives in the Papakura community including the youth engagement submissions with local government. I don’t fold when it comes to putting the voice of rangatahi on the table.”    

Save the Children’s Child Rights Advocacy and Research Director Jacqui Southey says the event was an incredible success, giving rangatahi a voice in the political arena ahead of Election 2020.

“The feedback we’ve been getting from rangatahi is that, in the wake of COVID-19, they’re feeling like they’re not a priority and largely invisible in this election. The Hotseat is a way of making them heard on issues that are important to them.  For our youth to thrive, these issues need to be important to us.

“What a fantastic result for our rangatahi panel, who showed their knowledge on key issues that are important to them, and their passion to create better lives for young people now, and in the future, in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman was scheduled to be part of this evening’s Hotseat, but had difficult connecting to the webinar due to technical issues.

A recording of tonight’s Hotseat debate can be found here via Dropbox: http://bit.ly/YouthHotseat2020

MIL OSI