Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Local students experience Parliament (+ video)

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Being inspired by other youth was one of the things two local students took away from attending the 2016 Youth Parliament.

Western Heights High School Year 13 student Ellen Travis, 17, said all of the MPs' seats were taken over by teenagers, who ran Parliament for two days last week.

Ellen said in the debating chamber they had question time, a mock bill and a general debate where people gave speeches about important issues that faced youth, and things they were passionate about.

Rotorua Girls' High School's student Chantelle Cobby, 18, went to the Youth Parliament as a Youth MP for Todd McClay. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
Rotorua Girls' High School's student Chantelle Cobby, 18, went to the Youth Parliament as a Youth MP for Todd McClay. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

They also had select committees where they discussed different issues and put together references and recommendations about how they would solve the issue.

She said speaking in the House of Representatives was one of the best parts of the experience.

"It was so scary but something I would definitely do again."

Another highlight was getting to speak with ministers and MPs, she said.

She was representing Fletcher Tabuteau of New Zealand First, who came to support her, she said.

"It was just such an inspirational two days and I met some amazing people who were just so passionate about politics in general.

"I feel so inspired to get out in my community and speak up for the youth community, and just really put myself out there and discuss issues, and I have a new-found interest in politics."

Ellen said politics could be a potential career path, though she was not too sure about becoming an MP - "but I would like to continue being involved in politics".

"I think the best thing is I have more of an understanding now of our political system and government."

She said it was an "amazing" opportunity for students to consider.

"It's inspired me to talk to people more about issues our country faces and I'm much more confident now."

Rotorua Girls' High School student Chantelle Cobby, 18, said she applied for the Youth Parliament because it sounded like a cool experience and it only came around every three years, so it was "too good to pass".

She represented Todd McClay who had been supportive the whole way, she said.

Chantelle said one of her favourite parts was the general debate.

"You could really see and feel the passion and motivation [people] had."

She said it had been overwhelming to sit in the actual parliament seats "but in a really exciting way".

"I was totally inspired by everyone, and hearing their opinions and seeing their passion come out."

Ngahaki Gardiner, 17, represented Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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