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New Zealand Parliament

The UK Parliament buildings, Westminster, London.

The UK Parliament, Westminster, London. Photo: UK Parliament.

12 August 2011

Young New Zealander to attend Commonwealth Youth Parliament in London

Michael Bendall, a 23-year-old law and commerce student at the University of Canterbury, has been chosen to represent New Zealand at the Fourth Commonwealth Youth Parliament (CYP) in London on 6-10 September.

Sixty-eight young people aged between 18 and 29 years applied to attend the CYP, which will take place at the United Kingdom Parliament. Michael stood out for his leadership skills and his commitment to the local community.

He is the Māori liaison officer at Community Law Canterbury and is involved in the setting up and running of a printing company that gives all its profits to charity. He was a member of a young people’s group set up to provide advice to the Children’s Commissioner and took part in a United Nations conference on violence against children in 2005.

Michael says one of his most interesting experiences was the week he spent as an intern at the office of his local member of Parliament, the Hon Jim Anderton.

CYP delegates have been provided with information about a fictional country, “Commonwealthland”. They will organise themselves into the two main political parties of “Commonwealthland”, with a Prime Minister, Cabinet, Opposition shadow Cabinet, and some Independent members.

They will hold question time and debate a mock “Climate Change Bill”. Two select committees will meet. One will hold an inquiry into initiatives to tackle youth employment in “Commonwealthland”; the other will consider whether “Commonwealthland” should bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Delegates will also watch question time in the UK Parliament’s House of Commons and House of Lords.