Foreign Affairs


Aotearoa Youth Declaration is an annual conference for High School Students which connects young people with government policy. Participants work in Focus Groups to develop policy statements that represent their views and priorities on a range of subjects. The statements below were drafted by the participants of the Foreign Affairs Focus Group, and approved by the participants at the Conference.



We think New Zealand’s independent foreign policy is increasingly relevant as the interests of our strategic partners continue to diverge. We see New Zealand having a constructive role in intergovernmental organisations. Simultaneously, we support policy in the pursuit of development of New Zealand’s relationships with member states of the Commonwealth in multiple forms, including but not limited to:

  1. Economic, in the form of Free Trade Agreements;
  2. Security, in the form of emboldened collaborative defence arrangements; and
  3. Immigration, in the form of exploration into the potential for freer movement between their citizens.

New Zealand has a pivotal responsibility to maintain and develop relationships with fellow Paci c Island nations. We have common cultures and should utilise measures within the Commonwealth, connections with organisations, aid and diplomatic presence to further our common interests.


In the past, New Zealand has been a leader in world issues. We want to see this role continue through:

  1. Greater commitment to addressing climate change and implementing sustainable development within New Zealand;
  2. Encouragement for the international community to move toward sustainable models of development;
  3. Maintained public interaction with our programmes in the Antarctic.

Further developing our precedent for a defined stance on world issues, we encourage New Zealand to continue to hold states to account in circumstances of proven violations of international law, especially proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and encouraging other states with common interests to do likewise.


We endorse the continued funding and support of ethical and accountable non-governmental organisations that provide aid to the refugee crisis. We also see a need to address root issues of displacement such as climate change and conflict. Finally, we would like an increase to New Zealand’s refugee quota.


We recognise the importance of the New Zealand Navy in relation to our extensive exclusive economic zone. We strongly suggest increasing the funding and functionality of the New Zealand Navy, in order to better equip them to carry out their role in the areas of: interaction with the Antarctic; humanitarian aid peacekeeping; search and rescue; defence agreements; and Pacific development.


We want to see more public awareness of the New Zealand Government’s actions, particularly in the area of foreign policy. To that end, we encourage:

  1. Greater publicity and media awareness of New Zealand’s international interactions, including its contributions to intergovernmental organisations, particularly through social media;
  2. More active promotion of engagements and events facilitated by foreign diplomatic missions and immigrant communities;
  3. Investigation into the potential introduction of a New Zealand Youth Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, to encourage youth political engagement and participation.



An enormous thanks to the Focus Group participants, the Facilitators – Lexi and Ishan, the Conference Organising Committee, and the Event Sponsors.


Download the 2018 Youth Declaration