"Enough is enough," Sarah Fraser thought to herself.

The Youth MP jumped to her feet and to the defence of a fellow student who had been reduced to tears by National MP Anne Tolley, in the middle of a speech about mental health and the suicide of a close friend.

As a reward, Fraser copped a stern telling-off and was told to sit down on national television. But the 17-year-old Sacred Heart student doesn't regret it.

Wellington has this week hosted the Youth Parliament, which every three years brings together teenagers from around the country to try their hand at being MPs, including by speaking in the House, in front of cameras.

Youth MP Sarah Fraser stood up to Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley because she felt
Youth MP Sarah Fraser stood up to Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley because she felt "enough [was] enough". Photo / Parliament TV

Lily Dorrance, 17, was representing MP David Carter. She was speaking about mental health and describing her loss in Parliament's debating chamber yesterday when Tolley, presiding as chair, rebuked her for reading from notes.

Teen in tears after Anne Tolley interrupts speech about suicide of friend
'Humiliated': Youth MP Lily Dorrance left in tears by National MP and Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley

For Fraser, Stuart Nash's youth MP, it was time to speak up. The 17-year-old raised a point of order - aware that those around her had also been taking issue with Tolley's running of the debate.

"[Lily] was giving such a heartfelt speech about such a sensitive issue ... I just thought, enough is enough," Fraser said.

She had hoped to point out to the Speaker that the Youth MPs were operating under Youth Parliament Standing Orders and had been told to bring notes for their speeches.

"Would we maybe be able to be shown some leniency," Fraser could be heard saying, in and amongst a string of "no's" from Tolley. She was then told to sit down.

"I think every member of the House was in agreement with me about what the Speaker was saying and how she was ruling - I was trying to speak on behalf of all members but I didn't get to finish my point," Fraser said.

Dorrance left the chamber in tears after her speech, which touched on the loss of a friend to suicide.


"When she interrupted me it was awful," Dorrance told the Herald last night.

"As soon as I sat down I burst into tears and had to leave … It was just humiliating."

Dorrance had wanted a chance to speak about mental health issues.

"I wanted to make people aware of youth suicide, which I was trying to do, but then the Speaker [Tolley] said it wasn't coming from my heart. It just felt like I wasn't doing anything right. Like I wasn't good enough," she said.

Fraser had also talked about mental health in her application to become Nash's Youth MP.

If she had been speaking about the suicide of a close friend she too would have needed to read from notes, she said.

"I thought [Tolley's actions] were pretty unfair regardless of the speech topic but given it was so sensitive it was a bit of a bad move on her part."

Tolley has since apologised for upsetting Dorrance, saying she hoped she hadn't "ruined it for her".

Fraser accepted that apology. "I believe she was genuine although I don't think she would agree with us Youth MPs over her rulings."

Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (Mon-Fri 1pm to 10pm. Sat-Sun 3pm-10pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Samaritans 0800 726 666
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111