Mayor Jenny Rowan attended a special house meeting in Raumati Beach for youth last week. Around 20 young people including students from Kāpiti and Paraparaumu Colleges met to learn more about local government and the election process and share their opinions with Ms Rowan.
“This was a very special opportunity for me”, says Ms Rowan. “Statistics show that if young people do not vote at 18, they probably never will so it is hugely important for them to get interested even before they are able to vote. People in New Zealand died to ensure we have a free country so we need to honour and acknowledge them. Voting is part of that”.
Ms Rowan was delighted with the intelligent questioning from the young people which included asking what all the different roles in the Council were, how much average rates were and how they were worked out and the environmental impact of the four-lane expressway. “I am really encouraged with the level of interest in local government and particularly with the young people here who show concern for the wider community”.
The need of young people to find creative, well-paid jobs was also explored and Ms Rowan outlined some of the developments in this area including the Clean Technology Centre in Ōtaki, the airport expansion, town centre in Paraparaumu and work with innovative niche companies like Tuatara Beer who are creating products in demand world-wide. “Historically fifty percent of young people have left the district for work and education opportunities. I want to stop that and make Kāpiti a place which can sustain all generations”, says Ms Rowan.
The Aquatic Centre was a focus of discussion along with other facilities young people would like including a cinema back in Paraparaumu, multi-media and music hubs for all the talented film makers and musicians in the Kāpiti District and an indoor centre for youth to meet.
“This was a great evening”, says Ms Rowan. “I had so many good discussions with young people that I have not met before. I hope we can all keep in touch now and maybe some will get involved in local politics in the future. I am delighted those old enough to vote have been convinced their vote counts and will now be voting”.no