A youthful audience of 70 turned out to the recent Kāpiti Youth Service (KYS) election candidates’ debate in Paraparaumu.
KYS, in conjunction with Youth Quest and the Kāpiti Coast Youth Council, hosting the informal afternoon billed as “Pizza, Pals & Politics.”
In the relaxed forum the main issues raised related to housing, education and health issues and what the future might look like for young New Zealanders.
The speakers were National’s Euon Murrell, Labour candidates Rob McCann and Kris Faafoi, Greens’ Jack McDonald, Piri-Hira Tukapua who is the recently announced Opportunity Party candidate, Amanda Vickers representing NZ First, and Independent candidate Sam Jennings.
Also making an appearance in cardboard cutout form was Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and the response from the young people was very positive when Mr McCann reiterated Ms Ardern’s policy announcement that there would be a nurse in every school in New Zealand.
Mr Faafoi said it was a terrible state of affairs that so many organisations like KYS who were doing such good work had to battle for funding and had seen funding frozen or cut for the last eight years.
Mr McDonald, aged 24, connected very well with the youthful audience and said it was a huge failure that 91,000 New Zealanders between age 15-24 were unemployed or not in some form of training.
The Electoral Enrolment Commission had earlier spent time with those attending and KYS Manager Raechel Osborne said the response was very encouraging.
“There were plenty of enrolment forms filled in and the young people here are engaging politically. Young people often get bad press but the reality is they are intelligent and they care about their community.
Ms Osborne said she was impressed by the political turnout. “We are really pleased that the politicians made the effort and came to see and hear our young people.”