Youth Parliament

History of Youth Parliament in New Zealand

Youth Parliament has been held every three to four years since 1994. Youth Parliament was first held to mark the 20th anniversary of the lowering of the voting age to 18 years. The inaugural Youth Parliament was a short event that involved young people coming to Parliament for an education day.

Due to the success of the event, Cabinet invited the Minister of Youth Affairs to hold a Youth Parliament every three years from 1997. This was particularly relevant as it was the first year of a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) government.

After Youth Parliament 1997, the next events were held in 2000, 2004, 2007 and 2010. The 2004 event coincided with the 150th anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament and the 30th anniversary of the lowering of the voting age.

The latest Youth Parliament was held on 16-17 July 2013.

Youth Parliament is as close as possible to the real thing. It is an opportunity for young New Zealanders to influence government decision-making as active citizens and have their views heard by key decision-makers and the public.

Youth Parliament 2013 Hansard

The second day of Youth Parliament 2013 was held in the debating chamber and the full Hansard transcript is available for you to download and read.

Proceedings started with Question Time, where Youth MPs asked Ministers questions for oral answer - a real highlight! Following this was the legislative debate and vote on the Mock Electoral Reform Bill. The day finished with the general debate where Youth MPs spoke on an issue important to them.

Select Committee topics

During Youth Parliament, the Youth MPs had the opportunity to review legislation in Select Committees.  The topics of the ten Select Committees are outlined in the table below:

Select Committee


Social Services

How can public expectations for social services be balanced against likely rising costs for these services

Click here for the final Social Services Committee report

Click here for Background paper


Are young people taking enough responsibility for reducing and preventing substance abuse or should this be government’s role?

Click here for the final Health Committee report

Click here for Background paper

Transport and Industrial Relations

What are the barriers to young people entering employment across New Zealand workplaces and how can these be addressed?

Click here for the final Transport and Industrial Relations Committee report

Click here for Background paper

Local Government and Environment

Should government restrict or permit private businesses profiting from conservation activities?

Click here for the final Local Government and Environment Committee report

Click here for Background paper

Education and Science

Compulsory vs. elective subjects in secondary schools – should subjects like science be compulsory?

Click here for the final Education and Science Committee report

Click here for Background paper


Purchasing online: supporting modern consumerism

Click here for the final Commerce Committee report

Click here for Background paper

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Where should New Zealand’s international obligations lie – Pacific or wider afield

Click here for the final Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee report

Click here for Background paper


White collar vs blue collar offending: do current sentences reflect the economic and social impacts of these crimes?

Click here for the final Justice Committee report

Click here for Background paper

Maori Affairs

As more iwi move towards a post-settlement environment, how do rangatahi see the role of iwi in supporting the development of the next generation?

Click here for the final Maori Affairs Committee report

Click here for Background paper

Primary Production

Can New Zealand afford to be free range?

Click here for the final Primary Production Committee report

Click here for Background paper

Mock Bill

The mock Bill topic was the Electoral Reform Bill. The purpose of the Electoral Reform Bill is to modernise the electoral system to increase civic participation and the government’s longer term outlook. This Bill reforms the electoral system in four areas. It:

  • reduces the voting age from 18 years to 17 years
  • includes electronic voting to the methods of voting
  • makes voting compulsory for all eligible voters
  • extends the Term of Parliament from three years to four.

List of Youth MPs and Youth Press Gallery members

Young people from around New Zealand were chosen by their local electorate or list MP to be a Youth MP. During Youth Parliament, Youth MPs experienced all parts of Parliament, participating in a legislative debate, asking questions for oral answer to Ministers during question time, reviewing legislation in select committees and got together in caucus sessions.

The Youth Press Gallery was an important aspect of Youth Parliament 2013 as it was a replication of an important part of our democratic process.  It was also a unique developmental opportunity for young people who aspire to become journalists. Youth Press Galley members were been selected by the Parliamentary Press Gallery.