DCC aims at young voters

A youth participation advisory group for the Dunedin City Council is to be set up after the council signed off on the idea yesterday.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the group, which would develop a new structure for better youth participation in council decision-making processes, was essential, given rising concerns about low voter turnout and lack of participation in local government, particularly by young people.

Councils had been looking for ways to encourage participation in elections because the fewer voters participated, the more frail a council's mandate was.

''I see this as one step, and only one, we can take to encourage that participation.''

Through its consultation processes the council knew there were groups in the community that had great things to say, and this was also a way of tapping into that, he said.

Cr Aaron Hawkins, who will be chairman of the group, said it was an opportunity to start getting information out to and back from a demographic the council's present consultation might not reach.

He hoped that by next year there would be a greater youth input into the long-term budget planning process.

The advisory group would involve representatives from tertiary student associations, youth welfare and employment groups.

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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