Dunedin youth will have a greater opportunity to influence Dunedin’s decision makers and learn more about local government civics with a $50,000 funding boost from the Ministry of Youth Development.
Youth Minister Nikki Kaye announced yesterday that the Dunedin City Council was one of 25 local authorities to benefit from a $485,000 funding pool, allocated under the 2015 Youth Development Partnership Fund.
The city was successful in winning its bid for a $51,500 budget to set up a new Youth Council made up of Dunedin's high school aged citizens. The project will also involve further development of resources and support for high schools wanting to do more local government themed civics education.
Mayor Cull says "Today's young people will lead our communities in the future, yet participation at election time is dropping. It is critical our young people are given the opportunity to contribute and learn as early as possible. It is their future, our decisions of today are shaping."
The Youth Council is the last of three initial projects rolled out by the Council's Youth Participation Advisory Group. Like the Leaders of Tomorrow Roadshow and the recent Youth Vote, development of the Youth Council will involve Dunedin’s young people in both in project design and in implementation. It is hoped this will result in many more young people influencing the Council's decisions.
“We talk a lot about 'future generations' in the decisions we make with our community, but we know we can do a better job of hearing their perspectives,” says YPAG Chair Cr Aaron Hawkins. “It's been essential to let them take the lead in what those conversations look like. Like every other step we've taken so far, the form and function of the Youth Council will be shaped by those who it will represent.”
The Roadshow visited high schools in March and April and May's Youth Vote initiative saw high school aged students go to the polls to choose the new interior design of the Moana Pool lobby. Of the three options presented, Option B won a clear majority of support (63%). The vibrant new colour scheme, new seating, and a livelier, well lit and enjoyable space is on the way as a result.
“[The Youth Development Partnership] fund is about helping councils get young people aged 12 to 24 involved in and leading projects that are meaningful to both them and their communities” says Youth Minister Nikki Kaye. “It’s important that young people are involved in local decision-making, so that their views are reflected in the projects and facilities around them.”