Nikki Kaye ran, biked and kayaked 243 km when she completed the Coast to Coast multisport event in 2008. The same endurance and determination drives her in her work as a young National Party politician. Nikki is the MP for Auckland Central, and regularly engages with youth issues. She is also passionate about the environment and in December 2010 launched a ‘Thrash the Trash’ campaign aimed at reducing waste and cleaning up Auckland city.
What do you think it means to be a New Zealander in the 21st century?
It means to be a proud citizen of a young, open, democratic, progressive, innovative small country located in the South Pacific that has a good record as a global citizen. A country that understands globalisation and the rapid pace of technology. To be a proud citizen of a country that values diversity and our cultural heritage, free enterprise, a strong democracy, independent thinking, high-quality education, and conservation and the environment.
What do you think are the major issues facing youth today and in the next 20 years?
- Ensuring that all our youth are educated to a high level, and have the ability and character to solve problems and relate to people from many different cultures.
- Ensuring that as a country we are confident that we are developing an asset base and a workforce to support an ageing New Zealand population.
- Ensuring that more of the young people who enter our tertiary education system leave it with the ability to get a well-paying job.
- Ensuring that more young people have good financial literacy skills.
- Combatting depression and preventing youth suicide.
- Fostering a better understanding and awareness of good environmental policies that focus on sustainable development.
- Ensuring our youth have a good grasp of new technologies, and the ability to adapt to these technologies.
Why do you think youth should vote?
Youth should vote so that they can have a say in the policies that will determine our country’s future. By voting they get to have a say about what party and policies they want to see guiding New Zealand into the 21st century. The process of deciding who to vote for has a social benefit as it can also stimulate debate and awareness of issues among people who may not be as engaged.
Why do you think it is important for youth to engage with the referendum?
Many young people will have little experience of any political system other than MMP, as the New Zealand public voted to replace First Past the Post with MMP in 1993. It is important that youth engage so that they can make an informed choice about whether or not they wish to continue with the current system. I believe there are few things more important for citizens to have a say on than how we govern ourselves and who we want to represent us.
Authorised by Nikki Kaye MP, 82 College Hill, Freemans Bay, Auckland