Youth Parliament

2016 Youth Parliament dates

The eighth Youth Parliament will be held on:

  • Tuesday 19 July, 2016
  • Wednesday 20 July, 2016.

2016 Youth Parliament selection process

Youth Parliament poster

Minister Kaye announced the selection process for the 2016 Youth Parliament was open on 12 August, 2015. This date is the United Nations International Day of Youth with a theme of civic engagement. Youth Parliament is an opportunity for young New Zealanders to learn first-hand about New Zealand’s democracy, to influence government decision making as active citizens and to have their views heard by MPs, key decision-makers and the general public.

Youth Parliament replicates the real Parliament as closely as possible. Youth MPs have the opportunity to debate legislation, sit on select committees and ask oral parliamentary questions of Ministers. 121 Youth MPs hold their positions for a tenure period from 25 January, 2016 to 25 July, 2016. During their tenure, Youth MPs are expected to actively engage with their community to gain an understanding of the ideas and concerns of youth in their community.

Up to 20 members of a Youth Parliamentary Press Gallery will report on Youth MPs activities during their tenure and during the two days at Youth Parliament and make sure that Youth MPs are accountable to the public. The Youth Press gallery provides a unique development opportunity for young aspiring journalists. The Youth Press Gallery will sit in the Press Gallery seats while observing the debates and will attend select committees.

The Ministry of Youth Development coordinates New Zealand’s Youth Parliament and funds the travel and accommodation costs for participants outside of the Wellington region. Training is provided for both Youth MPs and for the Youth Parliamentary Press Gallery ahead of them taking up their roles.

To apply to be a 2016 Youth Member of Parliament

2013 Youth Parliament opposition speaker has the floor

A Youth MP is someone who is passionate about youth issues, politics and social change and is confident engaging with a wide range of people.

They should be:

  • aged 16-18 on 16 October, 2015
  • active in their community
  • able to seek the views, opinions and ideas of their peers and represent them at Youth Parliament 2016
  • able to attend Youth Parliament and commit to the Youth MP tenure from 25 January to 25 July, 2016
  • prepared to work within the protocols and behavioural expectations of Youth Parliament 2016.

Each Member of Parliament operates their own selection process. To apply to be a Youth Member of Parliament , contact a local MP.

Each MP will have a closing date on or before the latest date for applications of 16 October, 2015.

To apply to be a 2016 Member of the Youth Press Gallery

Youth Parliament from press gallery

A Youth Press Gallery member is someone who is passionate about journalism and is confident engaging with a wide range of people. They should also be:

  • aged 16-24 on the selection closing date 9 October, 2016
  • be either a current student studying journalism, media or communications , or be a secondary school student with a strong and active interest in the media, or be an intern or young person working at a media outlet
  • have an interest in politics and a strong interest in journalism as a career
  • able to attend Youth Parliament and commit to the tenure from 25 January to 25 July, 2016
  • able to prepare and seek to publish articles on Youth Parliament and on Youth MPs prior, during and immediately after the event.

Applicants are selected by the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

How to apply to be a Member of the Youth Press Gallery

To be considered applications must include:

  • a completed application form
  • a CV, including at least 2 referees
  • two examples of written work (no word limit)
  • an opinion piece (maximum 500 words or a ~2 minute video or radio clip) on one of the following two topics:
    i) what is an issue affecting young people that MPs need to take more notice of and why?
    ii) how well do you think MPs are tackling issues that are important to young people? Do they need to be doing more?

To apply to be a member of the Youth Press Gallery, email your completed application to no later than Friday October 9, 2015.

Great prizes on offer for Youth Parliament 2016 participants

In a few weeks’ time, participants for the 2016 New Zealand Youth Parliament will be announced. Not only will they get the opportunity to experience Parliament as a Youth MP or a Youth Press Gallery member, they will also be invited to enter in an essay competition sponsored by the Business and Parliament Trust after the completion of their tenure.

All participants in Youth Parliament will be advised of an essay topic, with the best three essays winning:

  • a first prize of $2,500
  • two runner up prizes of $2,000.

Business and Parliament Trust sponsor the competition, which is worth $6,500 in total.

History of Youth Parliament in New Zealand

Youth Parliament has been meeting regularly 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, 2010 and 2013. 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.