In latest in our series of Wa Ako addresses, old boy Stefan McLean came in to speak to the cohort. Since leaving in 2015 he has been studying at Victoria University towards a law and arts degree as well as working part time at Parliament as a Policy, Research and Communications Assistant in the Office of MP, Brett Hudson. He spoke about the upcoming election from an apolitical perspective: urging the students to participate in our democracy.
Stefan was a Youth MP when he was a keen history student at Newlands College, and volunteered for the Waitangi Tribunal in order to gain experience and open doors that led to working in the political system. He spoke passionately about the power of democracy and the power of the citizens. Challenging questions like ‘Why do citizens vote? Why do we have democracy?’ were asked. He spoke about how we are all equal under a parliamentary system because we run off a rules based system. Freedom of religion, press, assembly – all these things make a democracy. We use these principals to make the world a better place and we ensure this by voting and participating in the democracy.
NZ could be accused of being complacent when it comes to voting and taking democracy for granted – youth voting rates are particularly low. He urged the Y13s to not be fearful of democracy. We can’t let our democracy erode. We need to be proud of our democracy and participate. Voting is a lifelong responsibility.