Youth Parliament Review

August 5th, 2013 at 10:00 am by timshiels

The 7th was held on 16th and 17th of July, where 121 Youth MPs and 20 Youth Press Gallery members converged upon Wellington for two days. I blogged previously a preview of the 2013 Youth Parliament. What follows is an account of my personal experience, a review of the event as a whole, and a defence of the event and the use of taxpayers’ money to fund it.

Some Youth MPs, including myself, were fortunate to travel up to Wellington on Monday, one day before Youth Parliament began. (NB: Unless made necessary by flight schedules, the extra cost of this personal decision was met by the Youth MP his/herself and not by the taxpayer). In Wellington on Monday I received a tour from a member of my MP’s staff. This tour, whilst interesting in itself, was also a reminder about the staff who work for and with the Members. These staff are often naturally neglected or ignored by the public- short of “Hey Clint” moments. I will come back to the merits of Youth Parliament, as I see them, later on in this post but an understanding of the way MPs work (and Government works) is certainly beneficial to New Zealanders, regardless of any desire of one day to be an MP.

In Wellington, I along with some other Youth MPs from Dunedin, also met with staff at Save the Children, and the White Ribbon Campaign. We later encouraged all Youth MPs to wear white ribbons for the duration of the event as a statement condemning violence in all forms. If any of you have seen photos or video of Youth Parliament you will see that this was taken up by almost all MPs.

Tuesday morning began with a Powhiri and Official Opening by HE the Governor General. Many will have seen some controversy around the Powhiri with Sasha Borissenko reporting:

Labour MP Annette King said she was not comfortable with the “segregated nature” of the welcoming.

“In no way would this have happened during Helen Clark’s day,” she said.

Ms King said she would strive for gender equality for future Powhiri’s so that they could “accurately reflect” the House of Representatives.

“A change is long overdue, in my opinion,” she said.

“It was wrong. Some of my colleagues will disagree with me on this one.”

The Official Opening was much less controversial with speeches from the Governor General, Speaker, Minister of Youth Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

YP LC

Sir Jerry remarked that:

In conclusion, you have been given a unique opportunity to learn and to show leadership.  You – our rangitahi – represent our nation’s hopes and ambitions for the future.  One day you will inherit this beautiful country and it will be people like yourselves who will sit in our Parliament and make decisions for the future of our nation and our democracy.

To close, I want to give credit and recognition to those who came to this land; to those who have departed and merged as stars in the heavens; and to those who built the tikanga of our democracy.  In doing so, I will quote from the maiden speech of one of the first women Legislative Councillors, Mary Anderson.  Her quote focuses upon her responsibility in being here, and it applies to MPs otherwise and you Youth MPs:  “I do not look upon myself as a woman in this Chamber … I claim to represent the people”.

Following the official openings Youth Members moved to the Select Committee Rooms. I have already outlined what the Select Committees were to discuss but it is interesting to note what my Select Committee, Commerce, discussed with regards to our inquiry in to online purchasing. There was much contentious debate, and indeed sometimes I appeared to be alone in my views. It was debated whether GST should be applied to online purchases of a value less than $400 (the current minimum level). Whilst it was broadly agreed that it would be nice if GST was applied to all purchases made by New Zealanders, it was seen as difficult to collect. Some argued that Banks should collect GST on online purchases on behalf of the Government, as their objections to this are similar to that of retailers at the time of the introduction of GST. Others argued that the online retailers should collect the GST on behalf of the New Zealand Government, though issues of lack of jurisdiction and authority broadly counted this out. Internet safety was also discussed. Despite my suggestions that the burden of responsibility should be on the consumer, or the retailer if they desire to offer the service, the committee agreed that the Government should fund an advertising campaign to promote safe online practises.

Youth MPs also attended the caucus rooms of the Party whose MP selected them. In the Government caucus room, we discussed the role of MPs from the city and country, decisions around conscience issues, and Paul Foster Bell enlightened us as to what it was like to be a new MP.

In the evening, a “social event” was held. This received live coverage from Seven Sharp (something that I will mention shortly). Speeches were given, including from the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Youth Affairs, and it was generally a chance for Youth MPs to ‘get to know’ Adult MPs.

On the Wednesday, the real business of the House took place. I have made the Hansard of the day available here, so there is no point summarising exactly what happened at the event- although I do want to point out some aspects.

The Electoral Law Reform Bill, was much more controversial than I expected. Perhaps the most controversial aspect was the section that compelled all eligible New Zealanders to vote. Seamus Barnett from Palmerston North summarised this as:

Democracy lies at the heart of what it means to be human. The ability to choose your leader and to have freedom of choice is something that can be taken for granted, yet it is what differentiates us as people. We must have this inviolable right to choose, whether it be to choose a Prime Minister, a local MP, or to choose not to vote. New Zealand, as a progressive nation, must be seen to be upholding this freedom to choose. I believe that enforcing compulsory voting violates this right and therefore must not be allowed to occur. Voting epitomises freedom of choice, and compulsory voting is the antithesis of our democratic ideal. People must be allowed to choose not to vote, for whatever  personal reasons, and the Government cannot interfere in what can be a very personal decision.

Peniata Endemann  argued however:

We all have that friend who does not vote but who always moans aboutJohn Key and thinks it is OK. It is not OK. We must introduce compulsory voting to help these people. This way it will require them to go to the polling booth, have their say, and make it OK for them to moan about the Prime Minister.

Many YMPs (including me) voted against this Bill despite supporting some aspects. I am strongly in favour of a 4 year term, and not completely opposed to electronic voting as an option over time; but did not support the lowering of the age or compulsion to vote. The Bill failed 80-35 (with 3 abstentions).

Following the Legislative Debate, the General Debate was held. As with Parliament, the General Debate speeches could be of any topic of a YMP’s choosing. Jordan Brown, the Youth MP selected by Hon. Pita Sharples, delivered his speech completely in Maori.

I stand in this House as a representative of your people and of the youth as well. Like that leader Martin Luther King, I have a huge dream. My real passion is that the indigenous language of New Zealand is able to be spoken regardless who you are or where you are from. In time I want to go from my mainstream school to the Te Kōtuku secondary school to talk to my science teacher, history teacher, all my teachers. I want to go to the supermarket and to speak to the staff there in the chiefly language. Despite the Māori language being the indigenous language of New Zealand and a treasure of this land, very few people know how to speak Māori. What a repulsive situation that is.

A truly forceful speech!

Hanna Deal, from the Port Hills, delivered her speech completely in New Zealand Sign Language (with the aid of an interpreter):

It is very important for New Zealand youth to be aware of the Deaf community. I hope some of you would like to learn New Zealand Sign Language and get to know a variety of different cultural elements. Remember that technology can assist communication between me and you. I am Hannah. I am deaf and I am proud of it.

Immediately following that speech, Jay Evett, Youth MP for Hutt South, gave one of the most controversial speeches of the day when he called for the abolition of the Maori seats in Parliament. The speech ended in a walk out staged by some Maori members of Youth Parliament, (presumably) in protest over Jay’s own personal views.

JAY EVETT: No, not Labour. However, this was withdrawn at the request of the Māori Party. A referendum was promised in 2011 on the matter, but, like many things in politics, it was never fulfilled. I implore on behalf of New Zealanders everywhere that the current Government follows through with the promised referendum, if not the integration of the seats.This member fully believes in the importance of Māori traditions and culture. However, positive discrimination is not the way forward, and it is worse when it is endorsed by central government—

Eru Kapa Kingi: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would just like to let everyone know that he is not of Māori descent, so what he is saying—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! That is not a point of order. If we are going to get points of order raised, I will listen to them, but if they are frivolous points of order designed to interrupt a member’s speech, I will have no hesitation in asking that member to leave the Chamber for the rest of the debate. Jay Evett, you have an additional 30 seconds if you require it, in view of the fact that you were interrupted.

JAY EVETT: It is time that we took the bold first step to addressing constitutionalracism in this country. Governor Hobson, upon signing the Treaty of Waitangi, madehis intentions for our nation well-known: “He iwi tahi tātou.”—we are one people. Let the Government finally honour this message and readdress the issue of separate Māori seats within the next parliamentary term. Thank you.
Callum Lo delivered an equally (but more surprisingly) controversial when he called for an end to violence against the mentally ill, resulting in a further walkout following this exchange:

Disabled people face social barriers in schools, in workplaces, and in public. In 1988, Tītewhai Harawira, Hone Harawira’s mother, was found guilty of physically abusing a mental health patient in a health unit that she was in charge of.

Michael Fryer: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. He is referencing a member of Parliament. That is insulting.
Mr SPEAKER : No, no. The reference was to a person around a conviction. It is not a matter now before the court. The member is quite in order to make that reference that he has made.
CALLUM LO: I will resume. It was a mental health unit that she was in charge of.How she justifies this to herself and how she sleeps at night I have no idea.
David has already written about the third, and largest, walkout of the day. I commented on that post as follows:
I was (am) a Youth MP, and will be blogging more fully on my experience on Monday morning. Despite(?) being a strong supporter of Marriage Equality and submitting to the Select Committee on the Bill, I did not walk out. I thought the walk out was immature and pathetic. Without falling in to the cliche of quoting Voltaire, she was just as entitled to hold her views against the reforms, as I am to hold views for the reforms.Despite strongly disagreeing with what she said, I participated in applause for her afterwards. She showed determination and a willingness to speak up for her views, something that did not deserve a “walkout” over. This is what makes Youth Parliament a better event than what too many people think. Strong and passionate debate about issues that matter- not just to youth, but to all New Zealanders.
All three walkouts were pathetic, immature and unhelpful. It is partly this which gives Youth Parliament a bad name. We expect fierce debate at an event like this, but to walk out in that manner only belittles the debate, and inevitably the issue. After all- it is NZ Parliament not the UN!
The last speech I will quote is my own (there has to be some benefits to this gig!). In it, I call for a change in the laws around Organ Donation in New Zealand. It is something I feel very strongly about, something I want to change in New Zealand. I am pleased to see Georgina Beyer joining me on One News last night!
(List): It gives me great pleasure to rise in this distinguished Chamber today to talk about something that is very important to me, and something that I hope will soon be very important to you. It is time New Zealand had an open discussion about the issue of organ donation. For too long there has been some sort of taboo around discussing this, and I hope this will change.
I have a particular passion for organ donation awareness, as last year my beloved 20-year-old sister died whilst on a waiting list for a donated liver. I tell this story not to elicit sympathy or to pull the grief card, but merely to explain the dramatic effect that organ donation, or a lack thereof, can have on people.
The rate of deceased organ donation in New Zealand is appalling, and it is much lower than in many other countries in the world. Something needs to be done about this.Although many people think that selecting “donor” on their driver’s licence means that the organs will be automatically donated upon their death, this is not the case. It is thed eceased person’s family who make the decision. It is time we had a discussion, as a nation, about this.
There needs to be further support for live organ donors, as well. This is something that the Financial Assistance for Live Organ Donors Bill, the member’s bill formerly in the name of my adult MP, the Hon Michael Woodhouse, would do. This is something that I urge all my fellow youth members of Parliament to talk to their adult MPs about,in order to get more support.
Wales has recently introduced an opt-out system of organ donation. This is where allWelsh citizens are automatically organ donators unless they opt out, which is something many people will want to do for spiritual or cultural reasons. Such a system in NewZealand would change attitudes towards organ donation and further increase the number of people who choose to donate their organs upon their death.
I strongly hope that some fellow honourable Youth Parliament members will join me in my call for a change in Government policy on this matter.
All and all, Youth Parliament was an extremely rewarding experience. It is nothing like what some of the commentators here on Kiwiblog think it is, or how it was portrayed in a sloppy report on Seven Sharp. It is a forum where young New Zealanders can discuss the issues that matter to them and their communities. It is an event when young people can gain an understanding and appreciation of politics. These young people will not all become MPs, nor do they all want to- another lie perpetuated by commentators. The official photos and videos for the event can be found here. I am happy to have any questions asked of me in the comments below- I will do my best to respond in a similar manner to the question!
 
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37 Responses to “Youth Parliament Review”

  1. Manolo (13,518 comments) says:

    For once Full Moon King is right.
    Why do we follow the ridiculous discriminatory Stone Age traditions? To hell with them.

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  2. Redbaiter (8,350 comments) says:

    Tim- Did any one of the YMPs at all focus on the need to cut the size of government, cut government spending and reduce the number of MPS and generally get government out of people’s lives ??

    Do any of you appreciate the point that many people out there are sick to death of the government interfering in their lives, stealing their income and attempting to change the traditional culture of NZ in so many ways?

    Who in the YMPs actually spoke on these issues?

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  3. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    What an outrageous waste of taxpayer’s money. And how childish to walk out on any issue of controversy – they are worse than our adults, which is no mean feat. Whatever this ridiculous forum is teaching these kids, it is not civility, independent thinking or respect. So I guess in that sense it is perfect training for a career in politics.

    Kids this age should be playing cricket to aim to make the Black Caps better, or studying, not being indoctrinated by let-wing rubbish. I have an inherent distrust of any kid under 18 who has strong political beliefs. They will inevitably turn out to be the Chris Hipkins or Jacinda Ardern’s of this world and go straight into the bureaucracy without any real-world experience. Look how talent-less the current Green and Labour caucuses are. They couldn’t last 5 minutes in the private sector.

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  4. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    Tim- Did any one of the YMPs at all focus on the need to cut the size of government, cut government spending and reduce the number of MPS and generally get government out of people’s lives ??

    Surely you jest Redbaiter. It is amazing how many kids (and even adults for that matter) don’t actually fully appreciate where government funds come from – namely, the backs of others’ labour. They think it comes from under John Key’s mattress or a safe in Bill English’s basement. Maybe that is a reason why they so shamelessly vote themselves extra entitlements each election. Sadly it doesn’t look like any of these kids are going to break that trend and show some fiscal leadership if they crack politics in adulthood. This is sadly sorely needed with the retirement of the baby boomers and the broken promises and poor leadership shown by current and past National and Labour governments.

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  5. Manolo (13,518 comments) says:

    Surely you jest nickb. We can always count on the youngster representing Ohariu-Belmont, who under the glorious UnitedFuture banner will strike the necessary deal to bring about an economic bonanza.

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  6. davidp (3,576 comments) says:

    So, to summarise… A bunch of young people got together and repeatedly walked out on each other in pre-arranged shows of mock outrage. What a pompous waste of time.

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  7. Peter (1,687 comments) says:

    Those who walked out – what a truly disgraceful bunch you are. Go back to playschool.

    You are going to encounter valid opinions that differ from you own. You must counter them in order to have credibility, not walk.

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  8. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    Surely you jest nickb. We can always count on the youngster representing Ohariu-Belmont, who under the glorious UnitedFuture banner will strike the necessary deal to bring about an economic bonanza.

    Yes Manolo, the guiding principles of fairness, reasonableness and sensibleness will steer us through the economic grey clouds. My apologies.

    So, to summarise… A bunch of young people got together and repeatedly walked out on each other in pre-arranged shows of mock outrage. What a pompous waste of time.

    Couldn’t have said it better. Pity they have no better examples from our actual Parliament. Look at Kevin Hague’s behaviour over the gay marriage Bill.

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  9. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Why do we follow the ridiculous discriminatory Stone Age traditions?

    Why are you so obsessed with injecting your prejudice into the discussion?

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  10. mara (763 comments) says:

    Most of them will grow out of it. Those that don’t will end up in Parliament. Sigh.

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  11. Michael (903 comments) says:

    Well done, Tim. I’m surprised about the number of walkouts by Youth MPs who are intolerant of diverse opinion – but I guess it shows that views held by Youth are just as different as they are in any other demographic.

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  12. Uplander (46 comments) says:

    Thank you Tim
    I appreciate it
    Cheers

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  13. Ed Snack (1,838 comments) says:

    It seems to me that the walkouts are a symptom of the increasing intolerance in society to views that don’t accord with “the consensus” as promoted by “all right thinking people”. It is particularly notable that the biggest walkout was over that most recent of crusades, over homosexual marriage (or to give it it’s lying facade, “marriage equality”). It seems that contrary views on such matters should not even be allowed to be heard, one must listen to those self appointed opinion formers and believe what you are told. Other matters that seemingly must not be mentioned (unless one has the “correct” racial makeup, in a truly staggering display of racism) are those that affect “race” in any shape or form except for “white racism”, which is apparently prevalent , all encompassing, and to be acknowledged and abhorred by all.

    BTW, Apologies for depleting the blog’s supply of “” marks.

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  14. David Garrett (6,995 comments) says:

    Manolo: I think “Full Moon King” may have been lamenting the lack of wimmin in the powhiri party…she certainly wouldn’t dare make any negative comment about the long dreary powhiris – never any translation provided – that occur for the opening on every event imaginable in parliament…

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  15. david (2,552 comments) says:

    In a way, this highlights the greatest point of difference between the “youth” parliament and the “real” parliament. The youth parliament is drawn from a group with a very narrow age range and (judging from the photos only) consists of those considered to be achievers by the teaching profession at their various schools. This judgement is made on the proportion of badge collecters and wearers of either prefects blazers or sporting blues blazers. Contrast this with the “real parliament.

    Age range: barely-out-of-short-pants through to geriatric-but still-vertical-when-sober
    Life experience: street thug from a criminally inclined heritage thru professional-political-trougher thru career unionists thru dental nurse thru successful businessman/farmers/lawyers to preacher and holier-than-thou pontificators
    categories: whingers to contributors, racists to egalitarians, straights to queers

    In other words a relatively rich mixture and selection of the varied elements of our society. Some would say that the mixture is a bit over-forced by MMP (me included) but it is what it is.

    Tim, do you feel that the “parliament was too narrowed by this stricture of selection?

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  16. backster (2,141 comments) says:

    The walkouts certainly devalue any merit the forum has. The ceremonies and the general debate seem driven by Political Correctness rather than anything materially useful to the advancement of our Nation. A useful insight from Tim Sheils though.

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  17. Carlos (682 comments) says:

    @ Redbaiter

    Remember DPF said he thought the ideal number of MPs for NZ was 160. :(

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  18. Ashley Schaeffer (457 comments) says:

    There wasn’t much of “a defence of the event and the use of taxpayers’ money to fund it” that I could see.

    It is a forum where young New Zealanders can discuss the issues that matter to them and their communities.

    Except many participants showed an unwillingness to discuss views that did not match their own.

    It is an event when young people can gain an understanding and appreciation of politics.

    A very select few young people. Can’t this also be achieved in a limited fashion through the secondary school system? And I say limited, because I don’t think that politics should occupy too much a of young person’s time.

    I can’t help but shake the feeling that the Youth Parliament concept promotes the idea of a political class and that is something I am opposed to.

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  19. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    The ceremonies and the general debate seem driven by Political Correctness rather than anything materially useful to the advancement of our Nation.

    It would be more beneficial to have the topics for debate based on current events IMO.

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  20. RRM (9,784 comments) says:

    Hi Tim;

    Yes there need to be more organ donors.

    (And well done for picking a sensible issue, and not making an infantile spectacle by delivering a speech in a language no-one can understand, thereby wasting everyone’s time and achieving very little. )

    I don’t think opting everyone in and then leaving it up to people to opt out if they wish, is a great idea. It creates the impression you think the public are proletariat/sheep who should do what the govt tells them.

    Remember, most professional people’s time is charged out to commercial clients at somewhere between $100+GST and $200+GST per hour. Multiply that by 120 to gain an idea of how disgraceful the endless grandstanding, showboating, and other forms of time wasting that go on in the House truly are! ;-)

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  21. beautox (420 comments) says:

    I have no problem with events that “young New Zealanders can discuss the issues that matter to them and their communities…..when young people can gain an understanding and appreciation of politics. ”

    The problem I have is the fact that money that I worked hard for is extracted from me on threat of imprisonment to pay for this.

    If they want to pay themselves, great.

    If not it’s BULLSHIT

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  22. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    nickb (2,415) Says:
    August 5th, 2013 at 10:24 am

    It is amazing how many kids (and even adults for that matter) don’t actually fully appreciate where government funds come from – namely, the backs of others’ labour.

    Ohhh.. so that’s where the $11 billion comes from every year to fund universal super. :)

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  23. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Peter (1,183) Says:
    August 5th, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Those who walked out – what a truly disgraceful bunch you are. Go back to playschool.

    You are going to encounter valid opinions that differ from you own. You must counter them in order to have credibility, not walk.

    Interesting concept: “valid opinion”. Have you considered that what is and is not a “valid opinion” is also an opinion? Maybe what you consider a “valid opinion” is not everyone’s idea of a “valid opinion” worthy of discussion.

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  24. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    beautox (347) Says:
    August 5th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    The problem I have is the fact that money that I worked hard for is extracted from me on threat of imprisonment to pay for this.

    You must be that rare breed of human being… the kind that lives on an island… never received a state funded education… never receives free medical care… never uses public infrastructure like roads… and no doubt you own your own private army and police force.

    Humble apologies dear sir for the threats of imprisonment… “at the point of a gun” I presume. Shame on us!

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  25. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    You must be that rare breed of human being… the kind that lives on an island… never received a state funded education… never receives free medical care… never uses public infrastructure like roads… and no doubt you own your own private army and police force.

    This intellectually lazy argument is always sure to pop up at this time….. because all of our tax dollars are targeted to well that our roads, schools and hospitals are in good shape….

    I am joking. Listen you moron, we give $30m for some rich twats to sail around the Mediterranean in boats, yet my local volunteer fire brigade has to resort to doing annual door to door collections to afford jaws of life to save people from serious car accidents…. if you can’t spot wastage in our government’s spending and think all tax revenue “extracted at the point of a gun” is so well targeted that it goes straight to roads, schools, and hospitals then…. well I struggle to describe how willfully blind you are being.

    I went up north this weekend and the roading in parts is third world. I grew up in Northland and I can assure you the schools and hospitals weren’t far off third world either.

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  26. dime (9,796 comments) says:

    “You must be that rare breed of human being… the kind that lives on an island… never received a state funded education… never receives free medical care… never uses public infrastructure like roads… and no doubt you own your own private army and police force.”

    I think im one of those rare kiwis who contributes more than he takes..

    free medical care? free?

    ill tell you what, ill start taking 30% of YOUR income BUT i will give you a FREE cup cake every other month. excited?

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  27. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    nickb (2,418) Says:
    August 5th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    This intellectually lazy argument…

    lol, the irony…

    …Listen you moron…

    hmmmm…

    nickb (2,418) Says:
    August 5th, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Whatever this ridiculous forum is teaching these kids, it is not civility, independent thinking or respect…

    I presume you were once a member of the Youth Parliament? :)

    …if you can’t spot wastage in our government’s spending and think all tax revenue “extracted at the point of a gun” is so well targeted that it goes straight to roads, schools, and hospitals then…. well I struggle to describe how willfully blind you are being.

    I see no argument from beautox other than that money has been extracted from him under threat of imprisonment. If you want better schools why don’t you pay for it yourself? :)

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  28. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    I presume you were once a member of the Youth Parliament? :)

    Nauseated at the suggestion

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  29. bc (1,365 comments) says:

    What a grumpy lot you are!

    Adult kiwibloggers who spend hours on this site reinforcing their own prejudices and absolutely refusing to accept facts or anyone else’s opinion as valid, now tut-tutting and lecturing about the same thing happening at youth parliament.

    Oh the irony!!!

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  30. OneTrack (2,981 comments) says:

    bc – I suggest there is a significan difference between the banter that goes on in a blog, compared to the utter lack of manners and pure gall to walk out of a public event put on for your benefit because you simply don’t agree with someone’s opinion. I am sure most here would politely sit through what someone was saying in such a setting even if you absolutely disagreed with it. As said above, it is somewhat disturbing how even the concept of free exchange of differing ideas is now actively suppressed if those ideas don’t align with the progressive dogma. Progressivism has apparently become a religion of sorts. Or is that a cult? I can’t tell which any more.

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  31. Peter (1,687 comments) says:

    Interesting concept: “valid opinion”. Have you considered that what is and is not a “valid opinion” is also an opinion? Maybe what you consider a “valid opinion” is not everyone’s idea of a “valid opinion” worthy of discussion

    Part of the lesson here – which appears to remain unlearned – is that they will hear opinions and stances they don’t like. Freedom of speech.

    They are free to walk, and I am free to think them pompous brats unworthy of the privilege given them.

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  32. homepaddock (408 comments) says:

    Well done on your coverage of the Youth Parliament, Tim, and strength to you in your campaign for more organ donations.

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  33. timshiels (3 comments) says:

    Hi all,
    Thank you for your comments- I have watched excitedly as they have come in through out the day! I do not intend to respond to them all directly but have a number of points:
    1)Redbaiter (10.12)- some Youth MPs did use their speeches to advocate small(er) Government. The Hansard does not respond it but during QT there were many interjections from people on the Government benches in favour of partial privatisation, smaller government etc. You are welcome to search Hansard yourself for some of this. I do however get your point. The culture of entitlement and the thought that Government is the solution to the problem (rather than the problem itself) amongst people my age concerns me. For what it is worth, I have belonged to two political parties (none of a particularly left wing persuasion!) and many Youth MPs are in a similar position to me. Sure, the majority of young people are left wing, but there is some hope for the future!
    2) In response to the suggestion that this is a waste of money- it is a perfectly reasonable belief that it is. I do not think it is. I don’t know exactly how much this cost (you are welcome to OIA it) but would estimate ~100k. This to me is not much for an investment in the youth of New Zealand. As an aside, my trip to Wellington made me even more strongly against big government than I was previously- perhaps some of you will see this alone as money well spent! :D
    3) In response to the immaturity accusations- of course some 16, 17, and 18 year olds are immature! Can you all honestly say you weren’t when you were this age? Some however, were not. I challenge you all to not taint all Youth MPs with the same brush as many did not walk out, talked about serious issues, and tried positively to contribute to constructive debate.
    4) In terms of Organ Donation (RRM- 12.42) you raise a valid argument. It is something that has challenged me. I think that opt-out would be beneficial as I feel that by default people want to be organ donors, unless they have consciously decided they do not. I am sorry this is not well articulated, I am not perfect and am young (!) but that is my current feeling. Like all my thoughts and beliefs, I am sure this will change over time.

    Happy to further discuss any of this or to answer any specific questions.

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  34. Pete George (23,437 comments) says:

    What a grumpy lot you are!

    Adult kiwibloggers who spend hours on this site reinforcing their own prejudices and absolutely refusing to accept facts or anyone else’s opinion as valid, now tut-tutting and lecturing about the same thing happening at youth parliament.

    Oh the irony!!!

    Yes, the irony.

    Good on you Tim. I think this was a great opportunity for those who chose to take part. Anything to encourage more engagement and more involvement in politics is a good thing – there’s often comment on KB about needing more voters with more understanding of our politics.

    Note that you can’t please all of the KBers all of the time, and it’s just about impossible to please many of them much of the time. Unless you can come up with a system of democracy where every idealist thinks they are getting everything they want.

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  35. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Tuesday morning began with a Powhiri and Official Opening

    Oh do fuck off.

    I’d encourage my kids to take up meth dealing before becoming a politician.

    Everyone of those little shits should be taken out the back and given a bloody good upper cut which hopefuly would knock some sense into them.

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  36. cha (3,935 comments) says:

    Be nice PeB, it’s all aspirational and stuff .. quite Jammi-Lee-ish.

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  37. Tookinator (221 comments) says:

    Re Organ Donation

    As some of you will know – I have taken this issue to arliament several times – but it’s still in the ‘too hard basket’ for them.

    DPF – Part of the Jackie Blue Private Members Bill that we worked on was that the law be changed so that family could not veto the wishes of the donor.

    The organ donor service argued that it was so infrequent that there was noo need to change the law. (Though they wouldn’t give figures of how often it happened.)

    They also said that ‘if’ the law ‘was’ changed that they would ‘ignore the law’ and continue to go with the family wishes.

    Mp’s on the Committee told me that after that proclomation that there was no point in changing the law if it was unenforecable. So the doctors decided the law, not the lawmakers….
    (would that work if Joe Public said we will ignore the drink/driving laws so Parliament said ok then?)

    The Chair of the Organ Donor Advisory Board (Which only meets twice a year – such is how good our service is performing – HA!) told the Select Committee that they would ‘Always’ go with the family wishes. One MP asked, ‘What if it was the other way around in that the person did NOT want to be a donor but the family said that she should be, He replied that in that case they would go with the Not donor rather than the family, So they lie… They always go with the ‘No’ wherever it comes from.

    I have the audio recordings of these meetings (Which I also attended.) There were some pretty bizarre statements from these doctors! At which time I was just repeatedly shaking my head and understanding how we have the lowest organ donor rate in the western world….

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