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Kapiti Youth Support (KYS) hosted a Pizza with the Candidates meet where the political figures all meet up and had a chance to talk to the younger teen generation, preparing them to vote and speak their policies.
A broad range of political parties attended including the Greens, ATTICA, Labour, National, Social Credit and ACT.
The event was held in front of around 40 young teenagers, all sitting on the floor listening in. The KYS group also had the chance to ask questions to the political figures, so they better understand what they’re saying.
The CEO at Kapiti Youth Support (KYS) Raechel Osborne says that they do the ‘Pizza with the candidates’ events for the local elections and have been doing it for some time.
“This is our fourth Pizza’s Pals and Politics for the general election. We also do it for the local elections, and we invite the candidates along. It provides an opportunity for young people to come along, ask questions, see what their candidates are like, see what different parties; their politics are and how that affects them.
“It’s a really safe and comfortable place for young people, it’s their space, and the candidates are coming into young peoples space.”
Younger people can have a voice at events like this that the KYS hold and they can feel confident asking the questions without being nervous.
“When you hear what these young people are saying, the questions they are asking – our future is bright,” said Raechel Osborne
Since every election is every three years, the KYS group have been doing the events for the younger teenagers (under 25’s) for the last 12 years. The purpose of doing the events is to allow younger people to have a voice, and that’s what’s being pushed for, including an opportunity for them to be heard.
“Some young people that can’t vote or are not at voting age are starting that interest in the political process,” said Raechel Osborne.
The KYS group says they support all smaller parties, and that everybody who is standing has the opportunity to speak and to be invited if they are willing to speak.
“We are in a democracy, and it’s important that every party has an opportunity.”
A question was asked and answered by Raechel, about funding from the Government for services like the Kapiti Youth Support. “I think for us it’s just another service that we provide, that we are not funded for, it’s just another youth development opportunity that we are passionate about young people.”
The Electoral Commission is also partnered up with the KYS to help young people vote by including voting booths on the election day at the offices.
“Another thing KYS is doing to provide young people with a voice and an opportunity is that we are having a voting booth here so that young people can come in and vote at the KYS. This will be the second year that we’ve done it. They might be nervous about going to a polling booth, but they already come here, it’s all good, and they will be comfortable as it’s their place.”
The booths will be operating at Paraparaumu’s KYS on October 8th and 15th, and they’ll be open from 11 am to 3 pm — ‘all people are welcome,’ said Raechel Osborne.