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Youth Parliament to discuss contentious bills

Thursday 7 April 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Court, National

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Youth Parliament to discuss contentious bills
(File photo) Parliament clerk Tangata Vainerere (left) with Cook Islands Youth Council vice president, Claytoncy Taurarii at the Cook Islands Parliament. CALEB FOTHERINGHAM/22040604

The Cook Islands Youth Council is finalising its numbers for Youth Parliament to be held from April 26 to 28.

Youth Council vice president, Claytoncy Taurarii said it was about getting youth interested in Parliament.

“Any issues that have been raised in the Cook Islands, this is their opportunity to actually relook at these issues and what difference could they make if they were the MPs for the constituencies,” Taurarii said.

She said it was also a learning opportunity for people who had not been to Parliament before.

The Youth Parliament will run across three days, the first day is an introduction to Parliament, the second is a research day and the last day will be a mock Parliament day.

Byron Brown from the Youth Council said the current Covid-19 travel restrictions meant only people from Rarotonga and Aitutaki could participate.

“The original plan was to get others from outer islands in the Southern Group but we couldn’t guarantee the flights back.”

Brown said other sections of Parliament will be filled with members of the Youth Council as well. These roles included the parliament clerk and deputy clerk.

Parliament clerk, Tangata Vainerere said Youth Parliament contributed to “the leadership development” of young people in the Cook Islands.

“We are happy to support all the technical assistance for the Youth Council to get ready for a Youth Parliament,” Vainerere said.

“We are supporting this event because we have a mandate for improving good governance in the country.”

The regional mandates in the Pacific encouraged the establishment of Youth Parliament, Vainerere said.

He said the topical issues that youth could bring up were Covid-19, the Crimes Bill in regards to rainbow rights, the exploration of seabed minerals and gender equality.