Politics fan thrives at Youth Parliament

posted: 7:00 pm - 28th July 2019
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(Picture caption: Members of the 2019 Youth Parliament and various dignitaries during the two-day Youth Parliament event in Wellington. Photo Ministry of Youth Development.)  

 A self-confessed “political fanatic”, Gabriel Tagi has thrived on the opportunity to experience what it is like to be an MP during the 2019 Youth Parliament.

Representing the recently sworn-in Member of Parliament for the National Party Agnes Loheni, in the Auckland suburb of Mangere, Gabriel has been part of this year’s Youth Parliament programme which concludes on August 31.

The 17-year-old of Samoan and Norwegian descent also attended the recent two-day Youth Parliament event in Wellington, along with 140 young New Zealanders who experienced Parliament as Youth MPs and Youth Press Gallery members.

He says he thoroughly enjoyed learning what it is like to be an MP, and meeting high profile and cabinet ministers.

“Most of all, I enjoyed having the chance to express my chosen cause which is something I feel very strongly about, on the highest stage in the land,” Gabriel says.  

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Gabriel (pictured, left) is currently studying NCEA Level 3 at St Peter's College, Epsom and resides in Otara and comes from a large blended family.  

A devout Christian, Gabriel is interested in right-wing politics and logical philosophy, and during his Defending Freedom of Speech broadcast live on TV from Parliament, he says everybody holds a series of opinions often criticised by other members of society of conflicting values and beliefs.

The freedom of speech Kiwis cherish is being actively threatened, and must not be lost, as diverse, free and open dialogue is the backbone of our democratic society, and it enables and encourages us to speak out about what we deem important, he adds.

Working in politics is a dream for Gabriel, who last year applied to be Youth MP for MP David Seymour, but missed out.

However, his opportunity came when at the end of 2018, he was contacted regarding a position as Youth MP for Agnes Loheni, and his experience under her guidance has been positive and enjoyable.

Leading up to the event at Parliament, he did some wide research across different areas of politics so he would be well-prepared.

“It was a unique and exciting event where I discovered many friends like me, and where I also experienced fierce criticism from opposing individuals.

“From this experience, I definitely have a more recognisable profile as well as more credibility and experience in the realm of New Zealand politics.

“The ripple effect of my speech has been vast as I have been privileged and honoured to be acknowledged by the Free Speech Coalition, ACT Party and the New Conservative Party.”

Looking ahead, Gabriel sees himself doing bigger and better things for the benefit of New Zealanders, putting the country first in every decision he makes, he says. 

“I also hope to introduce, educate and encourage politics to individuals or groups, particularly the youth of New Zealand who are either unfamiliar or unwilling in order to increase the overall interest and appeal of politics in New Zealand.”

Youth Parliament occurs every three years. Visit HERE to learn more about Youth Parliament, from the Ministry of Youth Development Te Manatū Whakahiato Taiohi.