Cook Islands Youth council welcomes Te-Hani’s election win
20 June, 2018, 2:40 pm
RAROTONGA, 20 JUNE 2018 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS)—Cook Islands National Youth Council (CINYC) has welcomed Te-Hani Brown’s historic election win in Thursday’s general election.
The 22-year-old is set to become the youngest Member of Parliament in the country – and the region.
Brown, 22, won the Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua seat under the Democratic Party banner, beating both incumbent health minister Nandi Glassie and former deputy prime minister Norman George.
She won 61 votes followed by Cook Islands Party’s Glassie on 42, while George of “Alternative Must Ravenga Openga” got just six votes.
Council president Sieni Tiraa said Brown’s successful election was an indication that people believed in the ability of youth to lead the country into the future.
She said they were hoping this would encourage more young people to actively participate in national issues such as politics.
“There were some surprising results that not many of us expected, but if anything, this shows a strong call for change. CINYC would like to see the youth, our country’s future, at the forefront of that change,” Tiraa said.
“Te-Hani Brown, the youngest-ever MP being voted into Parliament yesterday, is a catalyst. We’re hopeful that other youth will look to this result as evidence that the public has the confidence in young Cook Islanders to lead our country into the future.
“Most of all, we hope that Te-Hani will use this position of responsibility to empower the rest of our young Cook Islanders, and to stand for something new.
Concerns were raised lately at the large number of young people who remain unengaged and disinterested in politics.
In an interview with CINews last month, Tiraa said work was still needed to be done to get potential future leaders involved in the political process.
She said getting young people to support the political parties’ policies and advocating to their peers were strategies that have not necessarily been exhaustively used to engage youth, especially those eligible to vote.
Tiraa also said youth participation in national decision making was vital to ensure the equal participation of all members of the community in issues concerning the nation.
This, she added, would ensure the development and progress of the country is “well-balanced, peaceful, respectful and wholesome”.