Youth MP keen to put district views

By Alisa Yong alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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Youth MP Hope Sexton is asking young people around the district to make their views heard. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK
Youth MP Hope Sexton is asking young people around the district to make their views heard. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK

A Featherston girl "born and bred" says she is proud to be bringing the views of our young people to Parliament this year.

Hope Sexton, who is representing Wairarapa as a Youth MP at the 2016 Youth Parliament, is calling for young people to make their views heard.

Miss Sexton, 18, said she wants to hear from youth around the district.

"I just want to represent all the aspects of youth in our district and any view that I get will be incredibly important and valuable to me."

Miss Sexton was selected by Wairarapa list MP and New Zealand First deputy leader Ron Mark to represent his party at this year's Youth Parliament.

The initiative, funded by the Ministry of Youth Development, allows young people to experience the workings of Parliament by debating legislation, attending select committees, and taking part in discussion in the parliamentary debating chamber.

Miss Sexton, whose tenure as one of Wairarapa's two Youth MPs began on Monday, will spend two days in Parliament in July "pretty much being the government".

The daughter of former South Wairarapa district councillor Porky Sexton, Miss Sexton said she was proud to be representing Wairarapa and Featherston.

"I've been brought up around local body government and I'm probably more interested in that but the opportunity came up and I thought 'what have I got to lose' so I applied."

Watching her father had definitely influenced her decision to apply, she said.

"I always loved what Dad was doing. When I was younger he was in the fire brigade and that kind of stuff. He is a cool dad."

Miss Sexton said she was "born and bred" in Featherston and was glad someone from the town had been chosen to take part in the initiative. She was already being approached by people from Featherston with ideas to put forward, but looked forward to hearing from the rest of the district.

Getting civics and democracy put into the school curriculum and encouraging young people to vote were a few of the items already on her agenda, Miss Sexton said.

"It's great that this group can have this experience, but young people can miss out and I think having it in the school curriculum will mean a higher involvement in voting. Hopefully we'll actually see an increase of people using their right to vote, so that's one main thing I'll be pushing."

She has set up the website hopesextonyouthmp.wix.com/hope-youth-mp, where people can contact her with ideas.

She also encourages people to get in touch via Facebook.

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