Youth Parliament 2019 Event Kicks Off in the Capital

  • Hon Peeni Henare

120 Youth MPs and 20 Youth Press Gallery members have gathered in Wellington to attend the two-day Youth Parliament event which gets underway today, says Hon Peeni Henare, Minister for Youth and Chairperson of the Youth Parliament Multi-Party Steering Committee (MPSC).

“Youth Parliament is about providing an opportunity for young New Zealanders to deepen their understanding of politics and the democratic process. It’s about inspiring our next generation of politicians and political journalists,” Peeni Henare said.

“This year, we’re celebrating an important anniversary as it’s been 25 years since the first Youth Parliament . Following its success, Cabinet invited the Minister of Youth Affairs to hold a Youth Parliament every Parliamentary term. This is the ninth Youth Parliament, which is quite an achievement.

Over the next two days, Youth MPs will get to experience all aspects of Parliament by taking part in mock debates, attending caucus sessions, sitting on select committees, asking oral questions of Ministers, and engaging in legislative and general debates in the debating chamber. The Youth Press Gallery members are provided with a unique opportunity to stretch their journalistic talents, while learning about the workings of Government from the perspective of the Press Gallery.

It’s as close as you can get to the real mechanisms of Parliament, so it’s going to be a great experience and one that encourages our young leaders to have their voices heard.

For the first time, Youth MPs have submitted and decided on the topics they will be discussing in select committees, such as how awareness of Aotearoa’s cultural history can be raised and what can be done to lower the rate of suicide in New Zealand. They also submitted options for the mock bill with the topic, Sustainable Energy, chosen during a live draw. In another first, Youth Parliament activities occurring in the debating chamber will be broadcast live to the public on Parliament TV.

“The two days of the Youth Parliament event are part of many months of mahi for the Youth MPs and Press Gallery, who were appointed in late-2018. Since then, the Youth MPs have been engaging in kōrero with other rangatahi, designing and undertaking projects that are focused on issues most important to young people. Examples of these projects include a first-of-its-kind rangatahi symposium and a nationwide student climate change rally.

“Meanwhile, the Youth Press Gallery members have been reporting on the work done by their Youth MP peers. Hearing about the many and varied successful projects these young people have been involved with has me feeling very positive about the future of Aotearoa New Zealand, and I’m looking forward to spending time with them during Youth Parliament 2019.”

“I’d like to acknowledge the work done by the Multi-Party Steering Committee to support Youth Parliament. It involves a huge amount of preparation and cooperation across political parties. This reflects its importance and the role it plays in building understanding of our political system and providing a platform for our young leaders,” Peeni Henare said.

To keep up to date with all that’s happening over the two-day Youth Parliament 2019 event, follow @NZYP19 on Twitter, use #NZYouthParliament, and check out the Ministry of Youth Development Facebook page.

Notes for Editors

Youth Parliament 2019 is organised by the Ministry of Youth Development, in collaboration with the Office of the Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, and the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

  • Each Member of Parliament (MP) is asked to select a young person aged 16 to 18 years to represent them and their community at Youth Parliament 2019, as a Youth MP.
  • Additionally, Youth Press Gallery members, aged between 16 and 24 years, have been chosen by members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery to provide independent reporting of Youth MPs’ activities during their tenure.
  • To reinforce its non-partisan nature, the organisation and delivery of each Youth Parliament is governed by a Multi-Party Steering Committee (MPSC) made up of one Member of Parliament from each political party currently elected to Parliament, and a representative of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
  • The MPSC is made up of MPs from each political party elected to Parliament and a representative from the Parliamentary Press Gallery. The Youth Parliament 2019 MPSC includes Hon Peeni Henare, Darroch Ball MP, Chlöe Swarbrick MP, Chris Bishop MP, David Seymour MP, and Stacey Kirk, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
  • Short biographies of each of the 2019 Youth MPs and Youth Press Gallery members are available on the Ministry of Youth Development’s website :