The Speaker’s Led Outreach programme in Christchurch proved to be yet another wonderful opportunity for members of Parliament to meaningfully engage with young people.
Present on the day alongside Mr Speaker, Rt Hon Trevor Mallard were the members of Parliament Rt Hon David Carter (National), Matt Doocey (National), Hon Ruth Dyson (Labour), Jan Logie (Greens), David Seymour (Act), and Hon Poto Williams (Labour).
The day kicked off at Linwood Avenue School where Mr Speaker and some of the school’s Year 5 and 6 students began debating whether or not there should be a new law so that compulsory swimming lessons could be taught in greater volumes by all school teachers - a hot button issue in an island-nation such as New Zealand. After a cautious start, debate soon kicked into full swing and maximum volume. This was helped along by the actual MPs, who were compelled by Mr Speaker to get up and get involved in the debate.
Once the debate was over, it was off to the staffroom for some morning tea with teachers and principal, Blair Dravitski.
Then it was on to the University of Canterbury where MPs were able to meet members of the student and staff governing bodies on campus. After a chat it was time for them to head to the BBQ to hand out some free sausages and patties to some very keen politics students, amongst others.