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Parliament in the Wairarapa (September 2019)

Whareama School, located in Wairarapa, played host to The Speaker Rt Hon Trevor Mallard and local MPs Alastair Scott (National) and Kieran McAnulty (Labour), alongside Tangata Vainerere Clerk of the House for Cook Islands Parliament, for Speaker’s Outreach.

The Speaker-led Outreach Programme took Parliament to Wairarapa. Students and staff at Whareama School welcomed the group arriving from Parliament, including the Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard, local MPs Alastair Scott (National) and Kieran McAnulty (Labour), joined by Tangata Tangata Vainerere (Clerk of the House for Cook Islands Parliament).

The students had prepared their debate topic, the banning of homework in schools. This proved a popular proposition winning a comfortable majority of support. This was followed by a second debate considering adding two more weeks to the summer school holidays. While working with older students, junior students watched and participated in voting from the mat.

The kids asked insightful questions during the Q&A, about the perks and challenges of being an MP, and what each of them would do if they were not in politics.

“Whareama School might not be too far from Wellington and Parliament, but it’s often easy to feel disconnected to what happens here,” said Mr Speaker. “These visits show people both young and old around the country that anyone can access Parliament and participate in New Zealand’s democracy”.