With a focus on youth leadership and climate change, Bethanie Luke is looking forward to the experiences Youth Parliament 2022 will bring this week.
"I'm looking forward to being able to experience parliament from the inside and meeting with other people who I know have the same interests as me."
Bethanie, a Sacred Heart Girls' College student, is Labour MP Andrew Little's Youth MP. She is passionate about the environment and says she is especially interested in how government can act on the challenges of global warming.
"There needs to be urgency. We don't have unlimited amounts of time and it's not like we can just say from this day onwards none of this is going to happen. It's going to take time to make it better slowly."
Previous Youth Parliament events have also discussed climate change. The 2019 Youth Parliament drew national attention when it passed a motion to declare a climate emergency just months after the same bill failed to pass in New Zealand Parliament itself. Parliament eventually declared a climate emergency in 2020.
Bethanie says Youth Parliament could support action on climate change by getting more youth involved with the response.
"We're going to be the leaders when we have to make the big decisions, so I think it's important that our voices are reflected more, even if it's getting a group together and making a submission to a local group or the local council."
Bethanie is also looking forward to meeting the other Youth MPs when Youth Parliament meets this week. She is a member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, which will look at the topic "Nuclear Free New Zealand: should New Zealand Remain Nuclear Free?".
Achim Hanne is one of 19 rangatahi selected to participate in Youth Parliament 2022 as a member of the Youth Press Gallery.
Youth Parliament is held triennially to reflect New Zealand's three-year Parliamentary term. The 2022 Youth Parliament programme began on March 1 and runs to August 31. The six-month programme allows young people from around Aotearoa New Zealand to actively work and be heard on topics and issues they are passionate about.