Kerry Prendergast has had a long career in local body politics. She was elected Mayor of Wellington in 2001 and re-elected in 2004 and 2007. During her time as mayor, Prendergast instigated the policy of making Wellington the ‘Creative Capital’ of New Zealand.
Question 1: What three issues facing youth today do you feel particularly strongly about?
Despite increased educational opportunities and tertiary qualifications amongst the younger generation today, there is less certainly around secure employment. Potentially this has a detrimental effect on their confidence, self-esteem and ability to contribute both in the workplace and the wider community. A gap is widening between two classes of youth: those educated, working, and going places, and those unemployed with no future.
My second area of concern is with the social media frenzy and the intense peer pressure that surrounds Facebook and other social media sites which I believe could create increased vulnerability in some and consumerism and greed in others.
Thirdly, teenage drug and alcohol abuse and the wider binge-drinking culture in New Zealand causes many social problems, including sexual promiscuity, teenage pregnancy and violence.
Question 2: What changes would you like to make to the way New Zealand is governed?
I believe we are over-governed in New Zealand. I would much prefer to see less local and central government with a move in the latter back from an MMP system to a Supplementary Member system.
Question 3: What actions, if any, are you planning to contribute to the constitutional review?
New Zealanders should have the right to discuss and be part of their future and reflect on our history as a nation. I believe we should find our own identity and openly discuss and consider constitutional issues such as whether New Zealand should move to become a republic and whether we adopt our own New Zealand Flag.