Howick Youth Council holds community election forums

The Recruit Your MP brand is held by youth voice groups in the Auckland Youth Voice Network. Image supplied

A series of community election forums for local parliamentary candidates is set to be hosted by the Howick Youth Council (HYC) for the Botany and Pakuranga electorates in east Auckland.

Dubbed Recruit Your MP, the youth-led forums will feature a unique and interactive format with the event being live-streamed online.

The forums are currently tentatively slated to happen in mid-to-late September pending further clarity around Covid-19 restrictions.

The running order of the forum’s topics will be determined through real-time polling of the audience and questions can be virtually posed to the candidates on the night.

This format was dubbed by Stuff’s Todd Niall as having resulted in “the most engaging campaign meeting [he’d] attended” in the youth council’s 2018 local councillor by-election forum and was also used for HYC’s candidate forums in the 2019 local elections.

Youth council team lead Leane Te Boekhorst, who is organising the forums, says the project’s focus is to engage youth with local politics in a way where they feel empowered.

Currently, only 61 per cent of young people under the age of 24 are enrolled to vote – down from the same time prior to the 2017 and 2014 general elections (2014: 62.7%; 2017: 69.3%).

“We want to make sure all young people, as well as the rest of our communities in east Auckland, are empowered to make informed decisions on September 19.

“There are over 20,000 young people in Howick, Pakuranga, Botany and Ormiston and we want to help make their concerns heard in an innovative and accessible format,” said Te Boekhorst.

Confirmed candidates for the Pakuranga electorate forum include: Simeon Brown (National, incumbent), Nerissa Henry (Labour, tentatively confirming participation), and Lawrence Xu-Nan (Green).

Confirmed candidates for the Botany electorate forum include: Jami-Lee Ross (Advance NZ, incumbent), Christopher Luxon (National), Naisi Chen (Labour) and Damien Smith (ACT).

Pakuranga electorate forum: Picton Centre or virtually, Monday September 14, 6pm-8pm
Botany electorate forum: Ormiston Senior College or virtually, Tuesday September 15, 6pm-8pm

If the forums are unable to be held due to Covid-19 uncertainty, then a virtual forum may be live-streamed instead. [Learn more about times and dates at]

  • The Recruit Your MP brand is held by youth voice groups in the Auckland Youth Voice Network following the Recruit Your Mayor mayoralty debate in 2019 – a collaborative project between five youth voice groups in Auckland.
  • For the latest dates and information on Recruit Your MP, follow the Howick Youth Council’s social channels on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Email for more information.