North Shore youth get a seat at the democratic table

Publish Date : 08 Feb 2024
Youth Seat OA
Members of Younite, the North Shore youth council, with Devonport-Takapuna Local board members Melissa Powell, George Wood and Peter Allen.

North Shore youth are about to have a voice in local democracy thanks to a new initiative by Devonport-Takapuna Local Board. 

The local board youth seat is a pilot programme developed by the board with local youth council Younite, where year 12 and 13 students from local high schools -- with the support of their school -- can join and give input at the board’s weekly workshops.  

They can also attend the board’s business meetings to see how items presented at workshops are voted on each month. 

“The board is passionate about hearing from all sectors of our society and that includes the voices of young people who have a unique long-term perspective on the wellbeing of society,” explains board chair Toni van Tonder.  

“And with low levels of voter turnout in younger demographics we hope an opportunity like this to get involved and engaged in local government and understand its value will be transformative for the young people involved.” 

The Devonport-Takapuna Local Board is the first of Auckland’s 21 Local Boards to initiate the youth seat programme, a key priority from its three-year plan, with other local boards planning to trial the system this year.  

Board staff have contacted local high schools about the programme and developed a set of resources for schools and students that introduces the programme, how to apply, and outlines the benefits and commitments required from the school, students, and their caregivers. 

You can find the youth seat resources on the board’s webpage

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