Twenty-one young Aucklanders were inaugurated as the new Auckland Council Youth Advisory Panel at a ceremony in the Town Hall on Saturday 10 June.
Members are aged between 16 and 24 years old. Each member was appointed from one of Auckland’s 21 local board areas, making this the largest of the council’s six demographic advisory panels.
Adding a youth perspective
The panel's job over the next three years will be to advise the council on matters of importance to young Aucklanders and to add a youth voice to council plans, strategies and policies.
“Democracy is about making sure the voices of all communities are heard,” said Mayor Phil Goff.
“Auckland is proudly diverse. We are made up of different groups with different needs and different perspectives."
"Our advisory panels exist to help ensure that we leave nobody out, that everybody is equally respected and taken into account, and that they can influence and inform the decision-making process. The challenge for our Youth Advisory Panel is to bring the different points of view of the young people from all around Auckland to council’s attention.”
Councillor Fa’anānā Efeso Collins is the appointed Liaison Councillor for the panel and will assist in bringing important youth issues and interests to the attention of Auckland Council’s Governing Body.
“Younger generations are becoming increasingly aware of, and impacted by, the pressures we are grappling with in local government, be it housing, the local economy, transport and everything in between," he says.
"These pressures are perhaps greater for young people living in Auckland, so it’s absolutely vital we hear from them and consider their needs as we develop the plans and strategies that guide us as an organisation."
“And I’ll tell you what, the calibre of young Aucklanders on this panel is incredible. This is a group of smart, articulate and driven individuals who will represent their age group with a lot of passion over this term of council.”
A youth-led process
The process for developing the Youth Advisory Panel and selecting members was designed by young Aucklanders. Auckland Council put the call out in March for people aged 14 to 24 to come together and design the process.
About 70 young people attended a full-day session at Auckland Museum to discuss the role and responsibilities of the upcoming Youth Advisory Panel, the importance of diverse representation and ongoing engagement, and the selection process.
Meetings and more
The panel will hold its first workshop with council staff in July and a schedule of future workshops and public meetings will be planned.
The names and local board areas of panel members, and information on how to access future panel meeting agendas and get in touch with the panel, can be found on the Auckland Council website.