Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has encouraged young people to speak out and be politically active in a speech in Parliament this afternoon.
"This Government will be a Government that makes decisions based on the future of our next generation, and ones beyond that," Ardern told a crowd of dignitaries and guests at a reception in Parliament's Banquet Hall, after the State Opening of the 52nd Parliament.
Ardern made special mention of Wellington East Girls' College, who organised a protest against sexual violence at Parliament this year.
"I acknowledge those young people for using their voice, never allowing age from deterring them from doing so.
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"I hope all young people see this place as their place, and this Government as their Government."
Ardern was accompanied by her partner Clarke Gayford and entered the hall with Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne.
She acknowledged the Speech from the Throne, delivered by Dame Patsy, which earlier today outlined the Government's agenda for the coming parliamentary term.
Ardern said that there would be ample time to debate that agenda.
"But today we celebrate New Zealand's democracy, the freedom to choose our own path as a people. It is a democracy that none of us take for granted."