We often say that our young people are our future leaders, but I believe they are already leaders in our community.
They recently organised the Strike 4 Climate Action. I attended the rally in Red Square and it was inspiring to see so many young people there in support of the action.
It was also great to see the many young people who turned out to support the recent Pride Picnic on Tauranga’s Waterfront.
Who could forget the exceptional leadership shown by Cashmere High School’s head boy, Okirano Tilaia, in the wake of the horrific events in Christchurch which claimed the lives of present and past students of the school?
Okirano coordinated the Students Uniting In Love event, which he described as a student-led initiative to spread love and peace. Also, congratulations to Bianca Pearce from Aquinas College who has been selected to attend the 2019 Aotearoa UN Youth Declaration.
Bianca recently interviewed me about the issues that currently impact the wellbeing of youth in our country. I believe the main issues are mental health, poverty, education and job opportunities – and, of course, climate change and the sustainability of our planet.
I am proud to be part of a government that is working hard to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child and young person, with measures such as the Families Package, the Child Poverty Reduction Act and first year fees free for tertiary study.
I look forward to the government’s first well-being budget next month.