Damian Light: What contribution would you like see from youth in the community?

I think that our youth already do make a contribution (through community organisations and groups). I am concerned that a number of the groups that I belong to are dominated by older people. I’m not ageist but if we’re not engaging the younger generations then the groups are at risk of becoming irrelevant. We need to enable those with the energy and the drive to be able to contribute, channel their passion to help their communities and themselves. I’ve always said that young people are not just the future of the community, but a critical part of the community of today also.

The work happening around Kaipatiki to create more youth spaces is definitely something I support and I hope that this helps give our younger people a place to enjoy and engage with each other and the wider community too.

Obviously politics and government are a passion of mine and I’d love to see more involvement from younger people. Last election I was fortunate enough to speak at an election forum event organised by the Howick Youth Council – most of the organisers were not old enough to vote but were keen to engage and be involved. It was so inspiring to see their passion channelled into something productive and meaningful. I don’t expect all younger people to sign up to a political party but I do encourage everyone to engage with parties and politicians (at central and local) about issues they care about.

– Damian Light, United Future