Dunedin's youngest city councillors are to seek support
from their colleagues to ensure young people's voices are heard
at the Dunedin City Council.
The youth participation advisory group would advise and
support the council's Youth Action Committee, which was
established in 2007.
The latter aimed to be a voice in local government for young
Dunedin people and has sought to involve young people in
several youth-focused initiatives.
A recent review of its activities had highlighted a need both
to work more closely with the council and to more effectively
engage with young people, council community adviser Michael
Laufiso told councillors in a report to the Community and
Environment committee, which will consider the proposal
The advisory group, which would include representatives from
the education sector as well as from youth employment and
health sectors, would be tasked with developing a structure
that would ensure a young voice could be heard within council
and council processes, and advise the youth action committee
on how it could better interact with the council.
The advisory group would report to the Community and
Its 12-person membership would include Dunedin Mayor Dave
Cull, Cr Jinty MacTavish, chairwoman of the Community and
Environment Committee, and fellow young councillor Aaron
It would also include two representations from the Youth
Action Committee and one each from the Otago University
Students' Association, the Otago Polytechnic Students'
Association, Dunedin Secondary Schools' Partnership, the
Kokiri Training Centre, Otago Youth Wellness Centre and
Enviroschools and council youth participation adviser Lani
Cr MacTavish said she and Cr Hawkins had been in talks about
the proposal for a while and she was confident it was a good
way to go, as she believed it was unfair to expect the young
members of the Youth Action Committee to know and understand
how council processes worked.
The advisory group could prove to be a formal vehicle to
oversee the memorandum of understanding with the tertiary
sector student associations.
Cr Hawkins said he believed the decisions the council and
community made now had a greater impact on the city's young
people than any other demographic.
''They have the most to lose and the most to gain and I think
it's critical that we do anything we can to make it easier
for them to get involved and this proposal is one such
approach for doing that.''