Youth Parliament 2016

Youth Parliament 2016 poster with four Youth MPs debating.

The Youth Parliament 2016 event was held on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 July 2016.

For two days, 121 Youth MPs were at Parliament to debate legislation, sit on select committees and ask oral parliamentary questions of the Ministers.  

Take a look at the final two day programme, to find out what happened. Parliament ran and was open to the public like normal, so the public could watch our Youth MPs speak on issues that mattered to them.

Youth Parliament helped develop Youth MPs leadership skills through public speaking. Find out which Youth MPs spoke during which activity

At the same time, 17 Youth Press Gallery members reported on the Youth MPs’ activities to make sure that they were accountable to the public.

The Parliament website has additional information on Youth Parliament 2016, including profiles of 2016 Youth MPs and Youth Press Gallery members, the House seating plan, Youth Parliament Standing Orders (rules of procedure for the House and its committees), and other information.

Overview of Youth Parliament 2016

For an overview of the 2016 Youth Parliament download the snapshot summary infographic.

Youth Parliament 2016 Hansard record

Alternatively, for the full record of proceedings, download the Youth Parliament Hansard.


For Youth MPs and Youth Press Gallery members, tenure ran from 25 January until 25 July 2016.

Youth MPs were expected to actively engage with their community to gain an understanding of the ideas and concerns of youth in their community.

During tenure, Youth MPs engaged in different activities, which included:

  • attending a local event with their MP
  • providing a speech to their school about the importance of enrolling and voting
  • using survey monkey to canvas their constituents’ views on their select committee topic
  • working with other local Youth MPs and local charity/organisations on a joint project.

It was the responsibility of the 17 Youth Press Gallery members to keep the public informed about these activities – just like real Press Gallery journalists.

The Ministry of Youth Development coordinated New Zealand’s Youth Parliament and funded the travel and accommodation costs for participants outside of the Wellington region. The Ministry of Youth Development provided training for both Youth MPs and the Youth Press Gallery.

Mock Bill - Accessible Web Pages and Apps Bill

The 2016 mock Bill title was the ‘Accessible Web Pages and Apps Bill’.

New laws begin as documents called bills. Bills are drafts of proposed new laws. Parliament considers several different types of bill in formal stages. If they pass through all those stages they become new laws, called Acts of Parliament.

In the debate on the mock Bill (third reading debate), twenty nine Youth MPs gave speeches on the mock Bill. In a conscience vote, it was passed by 89 Aye votes to 29 No votes.

The Bill was intended to improve accessibility of digital technologies, including the internet, social media and applications (apps) for people with disabilities. Technology now plays an important role in the lives of most New Zealanders and there are equity and human rights considerations to improving access to publicly available information, services and commercial ventures.

 This legislation aimed to increase accessibility to digital technology by:

  • extending the reach of the existing New Zealand Government Web Accessibility Standard (the standard) by making it applicable to the wider State sector including local government and to the non-government sector where it is reasonable to do so
  • enabling a compliance, procurement and implementation regime
  • establishing general ‘future-proofing’ powers to make regulations to allow for updating of accessibility standards, or to respond to changing technology.

Benefits of this legislation include the creation of positive opportunities of the New Zealand economy through catering to the growing global market for accessible products and services. Passage of this legislation will also contribute to meeting New Zealand’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

There are potential compliance costs for agencies and businesses, but the applicability of the standard has a reasonability test. 

To provide context for the Youth MPs, in addition to the mock Bill, a mock Cabinet paper and further notes was also prepared.

Youth Parliament 2016 Participants

Youth Members of Parliament (Youth MPs) were selected by Members of Parliament, and Youth Press Gallery Members were selected by the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Be Heard – The Voices of the Youth MPs

During Youth Parliament 2016, there were great opportunities to get involved. Ten Select Committee reports were presented to Youth Parliament by the ten Youth MP chairs. Read more here.

Youth Parliament 2016 Newsletters

Read all of the stories from Youth Parliament 2016 - these articles were produced by Youth Press Gallery members.

Youth Parliament 2016 Essay Competition

Great prizes were awarded for the top three Youth Parliament 2016 essay entries. Find out more about this competition for Youth MPs and Youth Press Gallery members.