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Youth MP keen on a career in politics

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson, Year 13 pupil Lily Lewis and Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott with Lily on screen in Parliament in the background. PHOTO/PAM GRAHAM

But law and arts degrees come first

Having experienced parliament first hand as a youth MP Makoura College Year 13 pupil Lily Lewis is keener than ever on a career in politics.

“I really want to represent Wairarapa in the future,” the 17-year-old said on Friday.

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott was chuffed to hear it as she sat in his seat in the 2019 Youth Parliament last week.

He is vacating the seat permanently at the next election and joked she could have his seat.

But Lewis is aiming to attend university and get arts and law degrees before embarking on a career in politics.

Every three years, about 140 young New Zealanders experience Parliament as Youth MPs and Youth Press Gallery members.

Lily asked question 13 in a mock question time. Her question was about Mike King’s push for counselling for young people. It was answered by a minister – Julie Anne Genter – and there was a supplementary question.

Lily said she was really happy with answers to her question.

She also participated in a mock Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee and is hoping to be the person to present the report from the mock committee to the actual committee.

There was controversy this year when MP Anne Tolley, who is Deputy Speaker of the House and was chairing the triennial Youth Parliament, told 17-year-old Lily Dorrance off for speaking from notes. In her speech, Dorrance had spoken about a friend who had died by suicide.

Tolley has apologised.

Lily said it turned into a “thing”.

It was a very tense environment in the debating chamber and it was also very ceremonial, Lily said.

The hottest topic was climate change and in all the debates there was heckling.

Lily is planning to embark on a tour of the region’s secondary schools, chatting to senior pupils about New Zealand’s political system and how young citizens can shape the country’s future.

Also at the Youth Parliament were Anna Douglas sponsored by Labour list MP Kieran McAnulty and Belle Willemstein sponsored by Minister of Defence Ron Mark.

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