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Part 2: Behind the scenes with a Youth MP – “Inside my diary”

As the Tamaki Youth MP, I worked with Simon O’Connor in making politics ‘snackable’ for youth while simultaneously contriving to bridge the gap between young people and the opportunities that are available to them.

October

Initial meeting with Simon O’Connor to discuss actions going forward and how best to implement my ideas on an overall spectrum. Following this, there was an article in the Eastern Bays Courier, announcing my selection as Youth MP for the Tamaki electorate.

November

Visited Mary McKillop Retirement Home and spent about an hour with them, giving a short talk and taking questions about what Youth Parliament will hold.

December

First public appearance at the Tamaki Electorate End of Year Function. Introduced myself and gave an overview of what I am looking to achieve in the next months. Discussed preliminary issues with constituents.

February

Was officially inducted with Youth MP badge at an event held in Auckland. These events were held all across the country and also acted as the first training session for Youth Parliamentarians.

Following the break, met for the first time in 2016 with Simon. This was a conversation over finer details in the upcoming campaign and how we can work together to further develop engagement with youth in the community.

March

Visited Youthline to address specific issues, and talked about bridging the gap between young people and the opportunities that are present to them. Further discussion over how to approach this was also undertaken.

I accompanied Simon in talking with disgruntled residents over noise and inappropriate behaviour across Mission Bay. We listened to what the constituents had to say and then decided to approach the local police constable. Video cameras and officials have now been posted in the area as a result of this meeting.

In the latter part of this month, I met with Desley Simpson, Orakei Board Chair, and Simon, to closely address the dilemma of housing intensification and how we can ensure that the voice of the people is heard.

April

Attended ANZAC Day events with Simon. Privileged enough to lay a wreath as a dignitary on behalf of the Crown in the service at Mission Bay before mixing with constituents at numerous locations around Orakei.

May

Continued to work on social media, gauging interest, especially in the aftermath of TPP negotiations and the Flag Debate.

June

Spoke at High Tea Function about social justice and how we must act upon recent events in New Zealand to combat a permissive attitude regarding family violence or abuse.

Highlight of the journey

Acted as dignitary with Simon at the annual Prime Ministers Breakfast — talking with Mr Key about my own aspirations, the development of youth in relation to their political engagement and Youth Parliament as a whole.

Then was given the amazing opportunity of speaking at the event, presenting the vote of thanks and tabling my policies, including ‘snackable’ politics and bridging the gap between young people and their communities.

Aaron Dahmen is the CEO of TADS and became politically recognised when elected as a Member of Youth Parliament in 2016, bringing his mantra of snackable media and politics further into the public eye. 

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