Lisa Bazalo is heading into her final year of study at the University of Otago, working towards an LLB and a Bachelor of Science in Land Planning and Development. Lisa has worked for the McGuinness Institute (previously the Sustainable Future Institute) during her summer holidays for the past five years.
Question 1: What three issues facing youth today do you feel particularly strongly about?
I feel particularly strongly about the debt many students face when they leave university. Student loans are silent sharks constantly eating away at us. We are forced into debt before we are even guaranteed a job, let alone have a house or any other security. Secondly I think that environmental issues are going to be a growing concern for the youth of today. People need to be made more aware of the issues we face surrounding oil, food, and water security. Lastly I think we need to break the poverty cycle that exists in New Zealand and find a way to address its consequences, e.g. child abuse.
Question 2: What changes would you like to make to the way New Zealand is governed?
I think we need to find a way for the community to have more of a say. In reality our current constitution and the way New Zealand is governed are not responding to the voices of today. It is scary to think of what might happen if central and local governments don’t address the views of the minority – we only have to look at the recent ‘Occupy’ protests to see how significant the backlash could be.
Question 3: What actions, if any, are you planning to contribute to the constitutional review?
I hope to have discussions with people about the review – I believe young people gain a lot from just chatting with their friends in an open, friendly environment where they can say whatever they like without the fear of not sounding ‘right’. I also think that online forums, websites, and social media etc. are great ways to get the youth of today involved and I imagine I will be contributing through these things as the review draws nearer.