Christchurch students see Parliament at first hand
Ensuring the next generation of decision makers can experience their Parliament in action is a reason why a group of political science honours students visited Wellington this week.
The students from the University of Canterbury School of Social and Political Sciences spent a whirlwind 3 days visiting Parliament Buildings, seeing the House of Representatives and its committees at work. They also met with a number of the key participants in the parliamentary process, including the Prime Minister, the Speaker, party leaders and whips, and the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Students also had ‘face’ time with members of Parliament, Chiefs of Staff and parliamentary staff across the many and varied roles within the parliamentary precincts.
This is the eighth year students from Canterbury have taken part in this programme—one of the many groups of students who visit to get a first-hand view of how Parliament works.
The Christchurch students describe the opportunity as invaluable. “It’s given me a chance to see how we as young people can make change happen within our own communities,” says student Mele Tabukovu. Her colleague Cera Rooney agrees, “This unique experience has only whetted my appetite for contributing to New Zealand politics … I really value this inside perspective on the decision making process.” “Talking with such a range of people has given me a real understanding of the vital role that people play ‘behind the scenes’ to create a functioning system,” says Mele. “Having lived in both rural and urban environments and recently experiencing the harrowing Christchurch earthquakes, I have seen the way political decisions affect us as Kiwis every day,” says Brodie Costello, another of the Christchurch students.