Youth Parliament

Every three years, about 140 young New Zealanders experience Parliament as Youth MPs and Youth Press Gallery members. It is their chance to advocate for their generation’s views and concerns and to look behind the curtains of Parliament. Find out what this means below!

About Youth Parliament

Youth Parliament - Nikki Kaye group

©Ministry of Youth Development
Above from left to right: Jay Evett, 2013 Youth MP, Daisy Cadigan, 2013 Youth MP, Henry Thompson, 2013 Youth MP, Hon Nikki Kaye, Minister for Youth, Chris Bishop, MP and former Youth MP, Kieren Gera, 2013 Youth MP, Jack McDonald, Youth MP 2010

Youth Parliament is an opportunity for young New Zealanders to learn first-hand about New Zealand’s democracy and to influence decision making. Youth Parliament replicates the real Parliament as close as possible.

Youth Parliament aims to:

  • enable young people to participate in tenure giving them an opportunity to volunteer
  • allow young people to have their voices heard on current issues
  • show to young people how Parliament and government processes work.

Youth Parliament has been held regularly since 1994 when it 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. The most recent Youth Parliament was held on 16 and 17 July 2013.

Youth Parliament 2016 – Roll-out

Youth Parliament 2016 poster with four Youth MPs debating.

The Youth Parliament 2016 event is scheduled to be held on (subject to confirmation on the Sitting Program):

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

For two days, 121 Youth MPs will be at Parliament to debate legislation, sit on select committees and ask oral parliamentary questions of the Ministers.

At the same time, 17 Youth Press Gallery members will report on the Youth MPs’ activities to make sure that they are accountable to the public.

Applications to participate as a Youth MP or as a Youth Press Gallery member are now closed.


For Youth MPs and Youth Press Gallery members, tenure will run from 25 January until 25 July 2016.

Youth MPs are expected to actively engage with their community to gain an understanding of the ideas and concerns of youth in their community.

During tenure, Youth MPs will engage in different activities, which may include:

  • attending a local event with their MP
  • providing a speech to their school about the importance of enrolling and voting
  • using survey monkey to canvas their constituents’ views on their select committee topic
  • working with other local Youth MPs and local charity/organisations on a joint project.

It is the responsibility of the 17 Youth Press Gallery members to keep the public informed about these activities – just like real Press Gallery journalists.

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. The Ministry of Youth Development provides training for both Youth MPs and the Youth Press Gallery ahead of them taking up their roles.


Get to know the participants in Youth Parliament 2016

Meet the Youth Parliament 2016 participants! On 10 November 2015, Minister for Youth Hon Nikki Kaye announced the 121 Youth MPs and the 17 Youth Press Gallery members.

Minister Kaye says: "Working with their MPs, these young parliamentarians-to-be will get out and talk to young people in their schools and community, to bring their perspectives directly to the heart of our democracy."

"For the first time we have brought the tenure period forward, giving Youth MPs the time to actively engage with their community to gain an understanding of the ideas and concerns of young people."

Read Minister Nikki Kaye's media release

Youth Parliament 2016 participant selection process

Preceding the announcement was a selection process, in which the 2016 participants needed to demonstrate why they would be good candidates. Each Member of Parliament decided on their own process. Examples include:

  • essay writing
  • speeches
  • panel interviews
  • voting on Facebook.

Youth Press Gallery applicants had to hand in opinion pieces and examples of written work, which were assessed by the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Read the list of the Youth MPs, their MP and the Youth Press Gallery members

Be Heard – How you can participate

Be Heard - Young people in parliament

©Ministry of Youth Development

Are you looking for a way to get your voice heard? During Youth Parliament 2016, there will be great opportunities for you to get involved and build your experience.

At Youth Parliament 2016, our 121 Youth MPs will debate a mock Bill in the House and participate in select committee discussions. You will be able to observe the Youth MPs debate the mock Bill from the public galleries. Note that access is on a first come, first served basis.

We would like to hear your views on the 2016 select committee topics which will be publically announced in June 2016 on this page.

Do you want to be involved? There’s how:

Great prizes on offer for Youth Parliament 2016 participants

Youth Parliament 2016 has a lot to offer! Not only will its participants get the opportunity to experience Parliament as either a Youth MP or Youth Press Gallery member, but they will also be invited to enter in an essay competition sponsored by the New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust after the completion of their tenure.

All participants in Youth Parliament 2016 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

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

Find out more about the New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust on their website

Youth Parliament – Real story