Kids have say about life in NZ
Debate has been flying between politicians, health officials and other authorities over child poverty, but now it's the children's turn to speak up.
The Children's Commissioner is assembling a new young people's reference group of kids aged 12-16 to represent New Zealand's youth.
Ruby Lindstrom, a year 12 Te Kuiti High School student, is in the current reference group and believes children have a right to be heard.
"I believe that children's rights are very important. We are the future of our country and therefore our experiences of how we are treated as children will dictate how we treat others in our society in the future," she said.
Ruby was selected for the 2010 reference group to serve for two years, as an advisory group to the Commissioner, putting forward ideas and solutions and undertaking their own research.
"I'm from a really small town and I was always interested in what was going on in the world and young people having a say in what matters to us, so this was a good opportunity to get involved," she said.
Even though the current group's run is nearly up, one of their final meetings centres around the recent child poverty report, allowing the group to discuss it together for the first time since it's release.
Until then, Ruby is intent on encouraging other young people to get involved in any way they can.
"Just go for it, it's for anybody. Don't be scared about what people might say about what you think. It's really important to stand up and have your say. The Government needs to know what we think, so it's really important to speak up and be a part of what's going on.
"There's only 10 of us in the group, but don't stop [if you don't get in]. Get involved in your own communities. As long as you show an interest in working hard and put a lot of effort into projects presented to you."
For more information on the group see occ.org.nz/young-peoples-space/yprg
- © Fairfax NZ News
Is it time for backyard fireworks to be banned?Related story: (See story)