Students at the University of Otago are among the first in the country to be brought into the public submission process being run by the Constitutional Advisory Panel, known as the Constitution Conversation, starting today (26 February) and continuing until the 1st of July.
The Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA), supported by the NZ Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), is hosting an afternoon workshop that will provide students with the first in-depth look at new resources being simultaneously launched by the Panel at a special event at Te Papa in Wellington.
“We’re looking forward to being at the start of this conversation across all of the aspects that will be talked about and put up for debate, from big questions about what currently makes up New Zealand’s constitution through to Māori representation in parliament and other electoral matters,” says Francisco Hernandez, OUSA President.
NZUSA President Pete Hodkinson says that working with the Panel to ensure students have a say so early in the process is a significant way to start the period for public submissions.
“A large number of tertiary students are already actively engaged in studying the range of issues that the Panel is asking for submissions on, so it’s really appropriate that they have this opportunity to play a key part in the conversation, and framing or reframing their own big questions. After all New Zealand’s young adult citizens have both a huge stake in the future and a huge ability to influence that future.
“Engaging with students on the big question of how Aotearoa New Zealand is run is a demonstration that the student voice matters,” says Pete Hodkinson.
Hodkinson is currently on a national tour around campuses that will feature similar workshops at Lincoln University (28 February), University of Auckland (4 March), Waiariki Institute of Technology (6 March), and Victoria University of Wellington (Friday 8 March).