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Ardern says contribution from youths is of great importance

February 27, 2020 9:25 am

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has strongly denounced the norm of many countries whereby children and youths do not have a say.

Ardern while visiting the University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Campus responded to a question by a student who asked her about some of the processes she uses to ensure youths are part of policy making.

In response, Ardern says in New Zealand they have a goal and that is to be the best place in the world to be a child.

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She says youths and children in the pacific can be influential and should be encouraged.

“At a Pacific level I have to say I feel that your voice does come through quite strongly, the greatest manifestation of that to me was at the last Pacific Island Forum there were two young people who presented to leaders in Tuvalu and they spoke so powerfully about the impact of climate change on their community that they brought the Prime Minister of Tonga in tears and he spoke and what turned out to be his last address to the Pacific Island Forum about the power he felt in their address and that he wished he had done more on climate change, and that was during the testimony of those young people.”

Ardern says she has thousands of postcards from children all over New Zealand who were asked about one thing they would raise with their PM.

These are framed and hung on her wall as a constant reminder of the issues she will aim to address.

She says some of the issues raised included discrimination and climate change, which attests to the importance of the voice of youths and children.

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