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Kii shines in New Zealand Youth Parliament

Representing his home district of Northland in the New Zealand Youth Parliament 2016 was a “wonderful” experience for Kii Small.

The 19-year-old, who was described as an “inspiration” by his area MP and nominator, said he learnt a lot but only time would tell if he would pursue politics further.

“My experience in Youth Parliament was wonderful, as I made a lot of great connections with both Youth Members of Parliament and Members of Parliament,” said Mr Small, who was born in Bermuda to Barbadian parents.

“The debating on a national scale against youth from all the diverse communities of New Zealand was truly something to savour for the future.

“I've learnt a lot about the process of how laws are made and how the country is run by the politicians.”

Because of the structure in the Youth Parliament, Youth MPs are only allowed to represent their electorate and community, not a political party.

Mr Small, who is in his final year of a bachelor of commerce degree at Victoria University of Wellington, said he felt “somewhat attacked” by the amount of young MPs who had already pledged their allegiance. He added that he would like to learn as much as he could about politics in New Zealand through his degree before dedicating his time to a political party.

“I want to work and help my community become an example rather than a statistic. Only time will tell if wanting to help my community/electorate through their struggle involves me going into a career in politics.”

Kii lived in Bermuda until the age of 13, attending Harrington Sound Primary School and Saltus Grammar School, where his father was a teacher.

In 2010, he moved with his family to the small town of Kaitaia, where he attended Kaitaia College before heading to Victoria University to pursue a bachelor of commerce degree in international business and political science. He always dreamt of coming back to work in the Bermuda Government, but said: “While it would be a dream to work in the Parliament Buildings of Bermuda and hopefully assist the country out of its supposed economic agony, I believe that leaving the country at 12 has decided my future already.”

Mr Small received a standing ovation from other young MPs after he made a speech about the need to include lessons in the school curriculum on studies of democracy and how society works.

“I chose to highlight the need to include lessons in the school curriculum on civic education because I believe every citizen should be given basic education,” Mr Small said.

“Basic education should include how your society and country works. If we do not teach our children how to vote, how laws work and what a government actually does, should we really expect them to vote? Should we really expect them to function to an acceptable level in society? Sadly, in New Zealand voting education and civic education are no where in the base curriculum for all schools. Despite the government constantly asking why young people are not interested or involved in politics, they do not blame lack of education in this situation.”

Mr Small was one of 121 Youth MPs who took part in the two-day mock parliamentary session to debate legislation, sit on select committees and ask oral parliamentary questions of the ministers.

The sessions were held in Wellington on July 19 and 20, and Winston Peters, Northland MP and leader of the New Zealand First political party, wrote on Facebook afterwards: “There's leadership material in Northland.

Kii Small

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Published August 12, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 12, 2016 at 12:46 am)

Kii shines in New Zealand Youth Parliament

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