Youth council seeks self-rule

An ambitious bid for independence is at the centre of the Papakura Youth Council's new 30-year plan.

The council intends to pull away from the Papakura Local Board over the next 10-15 years, forming a Trust that is responsible for its own finances and decisions, and remunerates its members for portfolio work.

The Papakura Youth Forum will be responsible for the trust's day-to-day management.

The plan was unveiled in the youth council's newly-agreed strategic plan, which outlines its aims over the next 30 years.

The group's mission is to run as a community business that provides youth services in Papakura.

Chairman Sheridon De Connick says it can best achieve that as an independent body, although he hopes to maintain a working relationship with the local board and keep advising it on youth-related issues.

The Manurewa Youth Council also became a trust in May this year.

Chairman Simeon Brown says it was a chance to become financially independent and gain funds from other sources.

It also "put the governorship of the youth council into the hands of young people".

The youth council still has a good relationship with the Manurewa Local Board and remains accountable for any funding from the local board, he says.

Developing local youth councils was one of mayor Len Brown's first projects when he took office.

He says looking after children and young people is his top priority but is not concerned about the form the youth councils take as long as "young people have a strong and vibrant voice".

Both the Papakura and Manurewa youth councils are still represented on the mayor's Youth Advisory Panel, which draws advice from young people across the Auckland region.

The vision outlined in Papakura's strategic plan is shared by the members of the youth council and forum, who are looking at the big picture for Papakura rather than short-term goals, Mr De Connick says.

"They are representative of different youth in the area, whether they be white, black, going to Rosehill, going to Papakura High School, not going at all . . . they all [have] the same mindset of being able to continue into the future instead of have something for five months and then leaving it."

Papakura Courier