Before she heads off to school in the mornings Ali Gammeter checks to see what mind food YouTube has lined up for her.

"Most of the stuff that comes up in my feed is debates and podcasts."

The 16-year-old Whanganui High School student takes a keen interest in world affairs and has been chosen to be the Whanganui electorate's youth MP next year. It's a role that only happens once in every three years, between elections, and her time will be March to August next year.

She will be one of 120 youth MPs and spend two days in Parliament, attend select committees and make a speech about legislation. She'll also go to public meetings in the electorate with sitting MP Harete Hipango.

Advertisement

She won the youth role by writing an essay about herself and legislation she would like to see passed.

She'd like an addition to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Our rights include a right to freedom of expression, including the right to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.

Her addition would define hate speech - generally frowned on - and give examples of it. Opinions of what is publicly acceptable vary.

During speeches at her school a speech about religion offended someone and the speaker was "talked to" by a teacher.

"I listened to the speech. It was just an ordinary speech, informative, and not offensive," Ali said.

"My friends would probably say I'm obsessed with freedom of speech."

The other legislation she's interested in is about health funding - and why places like Whanganui should be short of dialysis machines.

"I don't think health is underfunded. It's probably more about the distribution of funds. There's lots of middle management at the moment. They did try to cut middle management not long ago, but they're just seeping back in."

Advertisement

Ali reads a lot, and listens to speeches and debates online. On YouTube she's a follower of a confrontational British author and columnist, the late Christopher Hitchens.

She's studying politics, economics, history and social studies, gets involved in drama and has been prominent at Whanganui's last three model United Nations. She was a winner twice, and a member of the best delegation once.

Next year she will be a boarder at Ngā Tawa Diocesan School in Marton, and expects to get involved in its debating group.