Christchurch 2021 values young people. A city can be judged on how it supports and encourages the roles of young people. Young people need their own spaces, and each others company, while enjoying a mutual respect amongst the generations.
Too often, what passes for debate on youth issues stems from an “us and them” mindset. The problems caused and experienced by a few can produce an unfairly negative portrayal of all young people. In reality many problems, such as drugs and alcohol or dangerous driving, are issues for people of all ages.
The negative stereotyping of a minority of young people distorts the fact that the vast majority of young people are working hard at school, at polytechnics universities and other tertiary education, and in their jobs and generally contributing and doing well in our community.
In matters affecting the whole city there has been a failure to give young people’s contributions meaning and significance. As a result they lose faith with public process and instead turn to protest as a voice capable of being heard.
2021 appreciates that youth can be a valuable critic and conscience of society, and that people of all ages are mentors and role models for each other in different ways. Our approach to youth in Christchurch will seek to harness the creative, exuberant energy and fresh thinking of young people, for everyone’s benefit.
Representation and voice
There are many strong youth voices in the city, but they have often been ignored by Council in its consultation and planning. Christchurch 2021 councillors and community board members will listen to the ideas and concerns of youth in our city. We will create formal and informal channels of communication between young people’s groups and Council, to ensure that youth perspectives are represented.
To provide young people with meaningful input into decision making, we will:
- Bring together youth organizations across the city to have formalised and collective input into Council decision making
- Hold 3 forums with young people each year
- Once every three-year term hold a “Youth Council” for three days – similar to the “Youth Parliament”, where young people take on role of Mayor, Councillors, media, Council staff etc.
- Enhance local government civics education programme in partnership with schools.
- Reinstate the Youth Advocate role from within the council’s Community Development team
- Bring engagement into the 21st century by directly engaging with young people via online network websites.
Youth Facilities and enhancing safety
A Christchurch 2021 Council will recognise and resource the need for youth-oriented facilities and events. By engaging young people in safe spaces, providing positive ways of expressing their energy and creativity we can start to reduce the harm caused by activities like vandalism and unsafe driving.
In the design and uses of public space, Christchurch 2021 will encourage a sense of citizenship for young people, to promote pride and respect for our city.
We will better utilize existing public space and use existing budgets to provide:
- Outdoor music events in City Mall and the Square
- Investigate occasional Saturday night movies in the Square
- Investigate drive-in movies to be held at other council owned land and facilities
- Establish partnerships to increase the number and variety of youth-oriented venues across the city
To enhance young people’s safety in Christchurch we will:
- Lobby for extension of coverage and hours of late night bus and advocate for making the late night bus safer
- Work with young people and industry to increase youth safety on taxis
Rights and responsibilities
Like all other citizens, young people must earn the respect of others. With rights come responsibilities. To enhance intergenerational understanding a 2021 Council will:
- Develop an intergenerational mentoring and volunteer project between retired citizens and young people
- Work with youth and student organisations to encourage enrolment and voting in local body elections