30 Apr 2017

Pasifika Parliament pushing youth to politics

From The House, 11:45 am on 30 April 2017

Pacific youth in Christchurch have created their own Parliament to debate issues of education, religion, health and gender equality in the hopes their views will be heard by MPs in Wellington.

Pacific youth in Christchurch take part in a warm up game of rock, paper, scissors before question time at the Pacific Youth Parliament simulation.

Pacific youth in Christchurch take part in a warm up game of rock, paper, scissors before question time at the Pacific Youth Parliament simulation. Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

In the 2014 general election barely more than three quarters of eligible voters cast a ballot (77 percent).

 

For younger people the results were worse, with fewer than two thirds of those under 30 voting.

Pacific people make up just over seven percent of New Zealand and are young - data from the 2013 census shows the median age for Pacific peoples is just 22, for the whole country it’s 38.

To join those stats together -  young people are less likely to vote and Pasifika are more likely to be young.

So to encourage more young Pasifika to participate in politics the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Council (PYLAT) held a Pacific Youth Parliament simulation (PYP) at St Bede's College in Christchurch.

Speaker of the Pacific Youth Parliament Josiah Tualamali'i calls for order in the house at a Pacific Parliament simulation in Christchurch.

Speaker of the Pacific Youth Parliament Josiah Tualamali'i calls for order in the house at a Pacific Parliament simulation in Christchurch. Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

One hundred young Pacific people stepped into the roles of Prime Minister, leader of the opposition, cabinet ministers and MPs to debate issues like abolishing Pacific scholarships, Parliamentary quotas for Pacific MPs, and reducing numbers of Pasifika in prison.

Their views will be turned into the PYP Our Movement Act 2017 which will be sent to the House of Representatives.