Nelson MP Nick Smith has selected 16-year-old Esther Walters, a student at Nelson College for Girls, as his representative at Youth Parliament 2019.
Esther will be one of 120 Youth MPs from across the country who will be tenured from 1 March until 31 August.
“Esther will make a great Youth MP for Nelson in the 2019 Youth Parliament. She has a track record of advocacy for youth, has strong values and is determined to use the role to provide a voice for young people,” Dr Smith says.
“I was instrumental 25 years ago in establishing the first Youth Parliament in 1993 as the then youngest MP. It plays an important role in connecting young people with our democracy and ensuring MPs understand the priorities and issues for young people.”
Esther Walters is a Year 11 student at Nelson College for Girls and is a member of the Health Board’s Youth Advocacy panel, the Nelson Youth Sector Leadership group and Whanake Youth. The selection process involved interested students from Nelson making a video application and these were ranked by members of the Nelson Youth Council.
Esther says she’s looking forward to being involved. “I am excited about this opportunity to learn more about how our Parliament works and to provide a strong voice for the young people in our community. I am particularly interested in the issues of mental health and how schools can support students facing these challenges. I am also interested in helping increase young people’s participation next year in the 2019 local government elections.”
A highlight of the Youth MP role is to go to Wellington for a two day Youth Parliament on 16/17 July 2019 when Parliament is in recess. Youth MPs will have the opportunity to debate legislation, sit on select committees and ask oral questions of Ministers. Esther will also be working alongside Nelson MP Nick Smith to help understand the role and to connect with his work with young people.