Howick and Pakuranga Times
Botany and Ormiston Times : Howick and Botany Times Wednesday August 6 2014
www.times.co.nz Howick and Botany Times, Wednesday, August 6, 2014 — 5 126415 Politics lesson for youth By Marianne Kelly A REALISATION that some young people will reach the age to vote in the general election on September 20 not understanding the mean- ing of left-wing or right-wing has encouraged youth leaders to stage a political meeting. Selvi Balasubramaniam, a mem- ber of Howick Youth Council’s civic participation sub-commit- tee, and Mackenzie Valgre, who chairs the council and has been appointed Howick’s rep on the Auckland Council Youth Advisory Panel, have lined up political party representatives for the meeting tomorrow night. They are National’s Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross, Labour’s Manurewa MP Louisa Wall, Green Party list MP Gareth Hughes, Damien Light of United Future, and a Maori Party Tamaki Makau- rau Rangatahi youth rep. Edge- water College students Selvi and Mackenzie have also engaged the school’s 2009 head boy, Steven Steyl, who has a BA in philosophy and politics, to explain MMP and talk about the importance of cast- ing a vote. The speakers will outline what their parties can do for young peo- ple and an open question forum will close the meeting. Selvi and Mackenzie are buoyed by singer-songwriter Lorde’s (Ella Yelich-O’Connor) social media plea for young people to exer- cise their democratic right, even though she has not yet reached the voting age of 18. Selvi says: “It’s great how she’s using her status to make some change. She’s seen as an idol and it’s great she’s used her position.” Mackenzie says Lorde is “out- spoken and politically aware”. “I’m not surprised she did it and she has good power.” Mackenzie, Edgewater’s deputy head girl, says the youth council realised many young people didn’t know very much about the elec- tion process. “They don’t understand the policies, what’s right- or left-wing. We wanted to provide something really youth focused to get an understanding of the central gov- ernment electoral system.” Statistics reveal the youth civic vote for local boards and district health boards is also not good, Mackenzie says. “We hope our meeting helps the local board and flows on to local government. “Some people are confused about who controls what, for example transport. “The Government doesn’t con- trol bus routes, but young people don’t understand who has a say over what.” Selvi says many young people are still confused about how each political party’s policies will ben- efit them. “In year 13, they’re figuring out student allowances and loans. It’s a massive worry.” Another issue likely to be raised, she says, is youth employment. Mackenzie has replaced Ben Dowdle as the next Howick rep on the Youth Advisory Panel, estab- lished to provide a young person’s perspective to the council. “It’s about getting youth on board,” she says. “Auckland Coun- cil is talking about creating the most liveable city and youth repre- sent about 20 per cent of the city’s people.” The council’s I Am Auckland youth policy paper says close to 500,000 children and young peo- ple live in the super-city, almost 50 per cent of the total and rising to 52 per cent in some wards. Transport, Mackenzie says, including the lack of rail to the south-east, is one of the biggest issues the panel is giving feedback on, along with helping to create a safer, more equitable society. “We have a culturally diverse city. We want to embrace that and promote it. “We [young people] come from different perspectives.” Similarly, Selvi says, the How- ick Youth Council tackles what can be done for young people, how to bond the youth of Howick and make it a more welcoming society. The youth council made sub- missions to the draft local alcohol policy and draft Auckland Unitary Plan. Members also volunteer their time at local events. Another issue, Mackenzie says, is to find a place for local youth to “hang out, to feel accepted”. “We’d like to have something run by youth for youth and we’re investigating that.” The youth electoral informa- tion meeting is at 7pm tomorrow, August 7, at Edgewater College, 32 Edgewater Drive, Pakuranga. Selvi Balasubramaniam, left, and Mackenzie Valgre are encouraging young people to cast a ballot. Times photo Wayne Martin city planning Free rein to oppose servo By Marianne Kelly A DECISION to fully notify a resource consent application to build a fuel service station next to a school, church and retirement village is giving all concerned individuals an opportunity to make their views known. At the end of June an independent commissioners panel threw out an Auckland Council planning recommendation to approve BP Oil’s application to build a service station at the formerly council-owned 322 Pakuranga Road site and 330 Pakuranga Road, previously owned by the Pakuranga Bowling Club and now BP Oil. The two sites are adjacent to St Mark’s Catholic School and Church and the Pakuranga Park Retirement Village. Lloyd Elsmore Park is directly across Pakuranga Road. A council spokesperson says the independent commissioner, taking into account the public interest generated by the application, decided it would need to be publicly notified. Consequently, anyone can make a submission, including residents of the village who were not earlier notified. Public notification means all previous submissions can be rolled over. Leigh McGregor, who chaired the hearing committee, said if anyone was notified of the application, they could have their submission carried over or make a new one. About 300 opposing submissions made by St Mark’s parishioners and school parents were also initially ruled invalid. Only a representative of the school governing body and the church could legally make a submission under the former notified discretionary activity resource consent application. However, the spokesperson says: “As the application has been publicly notified, anyone can make a submission.” The deadline is August 12.
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