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Getting Wairarapa youth into politics

Wairarapa National MP Alastair Scott with newly appointed Wairarapa Youth MP Lily Lewis. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Three youths in the Wairarapa electorate will be getting front row seats in New Zealand politics next year.

Lily Lewis, Belle Willemstein, and Anna Douglas have been named Youth MPs for Wairarapa.

Every three years, each Member of Parliament selects a Youth MP to represent them and young people from their community.

Lily, who was appointed by Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott, will begin preparing for the six-month tenure period, which is March to August 2019.

The 16-year-old Makoura College student said she was “extremely proud” to take on the role.

“I’m looking forward to encouraging and developing the opinions of young people across our region to be heard.”

Lily said she believed that many young people were worried about the future.

“We are under pressure to learn skills and gain qualifications in a world that is changing so quickly.

“We’re worried about our social, economic and environmental future.”

Scott, of National, said Lily had an inclusive approach and was passionate about Wairarapa and its future.

“I look forward to working with Lily to find ways to empower young people in the electorate.”

Belle, a 17-year-old student at St Matthew’s Collegiate, was selected by Defence Minister Ron Mark, of NZ First.

Belle, who is on the Wairarapa Youth Council, said she was passionate about encouraging young people to get involved in politics.

“It’s hard because we can’t vote as we’re under 18 but I still think we can make a huge impact.”

Labour list MP Kieran McAnulty selected Anna Douglas of Waipukurau as his Youth MP for the 2019 Youth Parliament.

Anna, 16, is a student at Central Hawke’s Bay College and student rep on the board of trustees.

She said she was enthusiastic and honoured to have the opportunity.

“This is an invaluable opportunity that I plan to take full advantage of in the hopes of encouraging the success of youth in Wairarapa, Tararua and Central Hawke’s Bay.

“In this role, I would like to be a mouthpiece for those who feel that they do not have a voice, and to present these ideas on a wider stage”.

McAnulty said it was great to receive applications from across the Wairarapa electorate, which spans from Ngawi in the south to Waipawa in the north.

He settled on Anna because of “her passion for her home district and her keenness to help raise awareness for the issues affecting us here”.

“Anna has a sister at Wairarapa College and made a strong case for representing each part of the electorate — Wairarapa, Tararua and Central Hawke’s Bay, which impressed me”.

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