Getting young people interested in local body politics is tough.
Especially when they show some interest, and then scratch their heads because sometimes, not a lot seems to make sense.
Around the country, district and city councils have set up youth councils as a doorway to local governance.
In Hastings, youth council chairman Keelan Heesterman has walked through that doorway and announced himself by speaking his truth about proposed changes in his district that don't seem to make much sense.
Heesterman has an interest in politics, local and central.
Disclaimer - I met Heesterman a year ago when he was part of a Karamu High School group organising a "meet the candidate" event for young general election voters.
Hawke's Bay Today has held these meetings at Karamu High School's hall, and Heesterman and co were interested in how we organised them.
We met in person, and later exchanged emails around logistics and planning.
I wasn't involved further with the event - I shared my experience and left it for the students to use whatever they deemed appropriate.
I haven't spoken with Heesterman since, but wasn't surprised to see he had been elected Hastings Youth Council chair.
I was impressed when I read the Talking Point he submitted last week, questioning proposed HDC changes that did little, in his view, to promote youth interest in local politics.
The changes include:
a) Increasing the size of the council from 14 to 15
b) Reducing the number of Flaxmere councillors from two to one
c) Paying the proposed 15 councillors out of the existing remuneration pool.
Heesterman is supportive of the proposed Māori wards but expressed concern at the reduction in Flaxmere's representation, and the logic of potentially paying 15 councillors from the same-sized pool that you pay 14.
Heesterman also points out that little will happen to improve youth engagement with councils when 50 per cent of councillors receive the pension, and most councillors have other jobs or businesses that allow them to work as elected representatives.
Standing for council is an older person's game.
Youth councils like the one Heesterman chairs are a way to bring the youth view to the table, but for a young person to be fully engaged to represent their sector efficiently, they should be on council. Not off to one side.
Higher up the political food chain, central government via the Remuneration Authority needs to provide more funding to allow youth representation.
Perhaps we could have Youth Wards.
Heesterman also made the observation that HDC had the option to reduce councillor numbers to 12 from the current 14.
That option would have also resulted in Māori ward representation, would not have reduced Flaxmere's representation and councillors would be paid more.
Sounds good for the district.
No doubt there was a strong case put forward that 12 councillors would not be good for Hastings.
Of course, it wouldn't go well for two councillors who would have been guaranteed to lose their roles.
Early on in his fledgling political career, Heesterman has learned that sometimes things don't make sense.
Look no further than the regional council byelection result last week, when as an option, voters were bizarrely presented with a candidate who didn't want to be elected.
He got more than 2000 votes.
Heesterman might also be asking himself questions about the art of political self-preservation versus elected officials making decisions that benefit ratepayers - not councillors.
The wheels of local body bureaucracy turn very slowly sometimes, and good ideas in politics can disappear fast.
Hopefully Heesterman doesn't become disgruntled.
His Talking Point ended with a disclaimer.
"Keelan Heesterman is the chairman of the Hastings Youth Council - the views expressed are his own."
They sure were. And best of all they weren't homogenised political rhetoric signed off by a PR department, or his council elders.