21 May 2018

Cooks youth need more political engagement - council

6:28 am on 21 May 2018

As politicians trade barbs and verbal blows ahead of an election in the Cook Islands, a youth advocacy group says more needs to be done to engage the country's future leaders.

Cook Islands National Youth Council President, Sieni Tiraa

Cook Islands National Youth Council President, Sieni Tiraa Photo: AUT

The Cook Islands National Youth Council said there was a gulf between politicians and the country's young people, which both sides should work harder to address.

Council president, Sieni Tiraa, said that was evident at a youth parliament held last week, where she said MPs had their eyes opened to both the issues they cared about and the fire with which they discussed them.

But despite their interest, she said many young people didn't get involved in the political process.

"Ministers are kind of placed on a high pedestal over here and these are sorts of things that the elders do, that's for the older people, it's not necessarily something that we can get involved in," Ms Tiraa said.

"But I think that by us being able to take them through these trainings they're kind of a bit more confident in saying, oh no this is something we can get involved in."