Recently, the local Dunedin Youth MPs have been publicised here in our local media. Kate Gardner, Bokyong Mun, Injy Johnstone and I were profiled in The Star (9th May). See below for my contribution the article. 


I firmly believe in the importance political involvement for all New Zealanders. We must not take our brilliant democracy for granted. We are in a very lucky country to have such a strong history of democracy, in fact New Zealand can even be described as 'the longest continuous democracy in the world' due to our early granting of Universal Suffrage. In many countries around the world, citizens are currently fighting for democratic rights, it is therefore important that all New Zealanders treat such rights as obligations. Young people make up 35% of New Zealand's population and I see this as a strong reason to encourage more youth involvement in the political process. Although only those over 18 are currently permitted to vote, those younger, such as myself can engage with MPs and with Parliament, through letter and email writing and through submitting to select committees. As a Youth MP, I am keen to reach out to those who currently do not feel engaged with politicians or with politics. Every day, decisions are made, and laws are passed that influence young people now, and will influence them in the future. Recent controversial debates about youth wages remarkably lacked youth involvement, surprisingly it was left to the older generation to voice both sides of the argument. Youth who express their views respectfully and clearly will be listened to by MPs and adult leaders. It is over to youth to step up and put forward their views, to be heard. 
My Letter to the Editor of the ODT was published yesterday (15/5) and is also embedded below.
It is high time that more comprehensive discussions about organ donation occur within New Zealand. I, like many other New Zealanders, have experienced the pain and anguish of a lack of organ donors in New Zealand when I watched my 20 year old sister die whilst on an organ donation waiting list. Currently, organs of deceased persons are only donated after the expressed consent of the family. It is only right that just as we have control over our bodies in our lives, we must have control over our body in our deaths. My rights to have my organs donated should trump any rights of families to dissent. Deceased organ donation should be recognised as a noble thing to do, and as such should be more widely encouraged. Moreover, live organ donation should be made easier. The Private Members’ Bill of Michael Woodhouse (before becoming a Minister) to provide Government support for live donors by supplying 80% of his or her earnings is a good step in the right direction.  This Bill should become Government policy and should be passed through the House forthwith.
The ODT also ran an article (11/5) about the Dunedin Youth MPs and especially Winston Peters' selection, Jacobi Kohu-Morris. 
Jacobi was also profiled following his efforts at the Model United Nations Assembly over the weekend. 
 
New Zealand Youth Week is coming up on 4-12th May and has the theme of "Live Like a Legend". Youth Week is always a good chance to promote young people and young people's issues across New Zealand, as well as celebrating being young.

The Dunedin City Council Youth Action Committee is supporting events within Dunedin. For more information on these events check out the Council website or speak to the YAC Chairperson by calling 477 4000. 

    Tim Shiels

    This blog will be used for me to gauge the views of young people on issues that affect them.

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