20 May 2016

Air quality and sea level rise were the hot topics of conversation between students and local government leaders in Tauranga yesterday.

The discussion was held during a Priority One Instep Young Leaders Forum breakfast hosted by Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman Doug Leeder, Tauranga City Mayor Stuart Crosby and Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Ross Patterson were in attendance along with fellow councillors and twenty-three secondary school students from Tauranga and the Western Bay.

“The discussion we heard yesterday will inform our decisions about the Regional Air Plan that’s currently out for public submissions. We don’t often receive formal submissions from young people during our plan processes, so it’s great to get a youth perspective through this kind of forum,” said Chairman Leeder. 

“Students’ views were split on the proposal to ban backyard burning, but they all gave well-reasoned arguments for their views,” he said.

In addition to their Regional Air Plan discussions, students also work-shopped their preferred options to respond to projected sea level rise, and discussed the development of a youth app that would host local government content as identified by young people.

The Instep Young Leaders Forum meet quarterly to discuss topical issues affecting their community. Priority One coordinates quarterly meetings with these students to develop leadership and connections with the wider community in partnership with Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

Instep Young Leaders Forum - Chairman Leeder Instep Young Leaders Forum - Cr Nees