Tertiary students face a unique set of issues. These issues matter, and so do our voices – but how do we make our voices heard?
Join us at the first Auckland Tertiary Policy Conference and find out!
In collaboration with the Public Policy Club, UN Youth Auckland have created this conference to provide a platform for understanding the complexities of policy making as well as how we can challenge policies and be instrumental in creating change. A variety of workshops will challenge you to debate and create innovative policy solutions to key issues that we face, while strengthening and empowering tertiary voices.
Registrations are now closed.
We look forward to seeing you on the day!
Sorry, registrations are closed.
When registering, please choose 3 committees in order of preference. You will be sorted into one committee for one Workshop on the day to discuss the relevant issues within that topic, reflect on political ideologies and interests at play and propose your own innovative solutions to these issues. Below is a taste of the various Committees!
Auckland is experiencing unprecedented growth, which is putting the city’s infrastructure under real pressure. Two trends are increasing demand for travel: population growth, and people opting for affordable homes on urban limits due to housing price inflation. Improvements to increase the capacity and efficiency of the transport system are needed to remove bottlenecks to access economic and social opportunities. New technologies promise to revolutionize transport and help the system become more efficient, effective, safe and responsible. However, the rapid growth of industries such as ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles poses new challenges for regulations that need to maintain fairness, safety and security. The government has a role in encouraging and regulating these innovations. This committee will focus on investment in infrastructure, connectivity and travel demand, technology and transport and the ride-sharing revolution and the government’s role in encouraging and regulating these innovations.
For university fees, subsidies cover an average of 71% of the cost of tuition for domestic tertiary students. However, the typical student still graduates with $21,000 of debt which takes an average of 8.4 years to repay. In addition, many students are calling for living loans and/or allowances to be increased due to the high costs of accommodation. Allocations of funding will also have an impact on access to new learning opportunities, particularly for regional areas. While universities have seen a slight increase in funding, institutes of technology and polytechnics have seen their allocation. For those looking to study overseas, Australia’s changes to university funding mean that New Zealand students will no longer receive subsidies available to domestic students. As such, this committee will mainly focus on university fees, student loans and allowances, allocation of funding and the what the future of studying in Australia now looks for aspiring Kiwis.
It is important that government policy encourages small businesses, which account for an estimated 26% of GDP, and maintains a competitive and productive primary industry-based economy. Another key aspect of economic policy is taxation, and it is crucial that we tax the right groups at the right levels to redistribute income in an efficient and equitable manner. Some see record migration levels as a sign of strong economic growth in New Zealand, but there are populist fears about the influx of people putting pressure on public services, infrastructure and jobs. We need to balance these considerations against the skills and cultural vibrancy that migrants bring and which help grow our economy. Key areas of consideration in this committee will include a focus on small businesses, primary sectors, tax and immigration.
House prices have increased in real terms by 30% in the last three years. In Auckland, the average selling price has exceeded $1 million, which is more than 10 times the average household wage. Population growth and inward migration to New Zealand is forecast to remain strong, increasing demand. Auckland, however, is facing a growing supply shortage of more than 13,000 properties. This is fuelling housing price inflation. We need to overcome unresponsive planning and slow development to quickly build more houses. Another option involves encouraging domestic migration away from Auckland into other regions, which may decrease demand for housing in Auckland. Considering this, this committee will focus on house prices, supply and demand and growth in regions across New Zealand.
Up to 20,000 New Zealanders are living rough or in accommodation unsuited for long-term habitation. Almost 295,000 New Zealand children live in poverty, leading to poorer health, lower levels of education and income, and higher rates of criminal offending. New Zealand is also facing an ageing population. Superannuation costs the government $13 billion per year, and this will only increase with a growing population and life expectancy. We need to guarantee a minimum standard of living. A key consideration for this is the minimum wage, which must protect workers by paying a living wage without hindering business growth. Universal basic income is another form of social security that pays citizens an unconditional sum. As such, this committee will primarily focus on child poverty, homelessness, ageing population and the minimum wage.
How effective are New Zealand’s health policies? Mental illness accounts for 15% of the total burden of disease in the developed world. Reform may be needed to address high rates of suicide. We also need a policy framework to minimize the harm caused by the abuse of illegal and harmful substances, such as tobacco and drugs. There have also been calls for abortion reform: it is currently illegal, permissible only by exception in the most extreme of circumstances. As to New Zealand’s sole-purchaser model of purchasing pharmaceuticals, this has recently been modified to meet the requirements of the Trans Pacific Partnership. With the growing tension between New Zealand’s responsibility to its people and its responsibility to agreements, this committee will focus on abortion, mental health, substance abuse and pharmaceutical reform.
Some see voting as a duty, and some even as a privilege reserved only for those sufficiently informed. Yet some do not vote, and leave it for others to decide the government. How can we increase political engagement across all backgrounds? A related consideration is ensuring that all have equal opportunities are target schemes. These have varying levels of effectiveness and support, often drawing arguments of meritocracy and deservingness. For Maori, the government has a duty to meet the needs of a multicultural society that was built on partnership. The Treaty of Waitangi, as the founding document of New Zealand, has often been a source of conflict over rights and power. Considering this, this committee will mainly focus on political engagement, effectiveness and fairness of target schemes and the Treaty of Waitangi.
Having signed the Paris Agreement on climate, New Zealand is committed to reducing emissions. However, our largest exports, dairy and meat, contribute approximately 49% of emissions. The government must offset these without stifling the economy. There are further conflicts between preserving the environment and allowing tourism, and also addressing the housing demand. The Resource Management Act promotes the sustainable management of natural and physical resources but makes it difficult to build houses cheaply and quickly. Environmental considerations also extend to rights in natural resources. There is currently little to no National Policy Statement on freshwater which has led to ineffective water management. The government can act to ensure the protection of a natural resource. With our treatment of the environment being a contentious issue right now, this committee will tackle climate change, conservation, current laws in place and water rights.
Free trade conflicts with preserving New Zealand’s environment and local businesses. The government must reconcile these, or at least mitigate the negative impacts that they may have. There is support for the actualisation of free movement of citizens, free trade agreements, and policy cooperation between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, known as CANZUK. New Zealand must do its best to ensure that it is entering into a sustainable trade relationship. New Zealand is also committed to regional and international counter-terrorism cooperation. Where is the line between combating terrorism and yet respecting both individual privacy and the autonomy of foreign states and domestic citizens? Foreign relations are vital in considering New Zealand’s relationship with other countries and this committee will focus on immigration, trade, terrorism and conflict and CANZUK.
The Participant Handbook has everything you need to know before the conference!
Have a quick look and take notice of the timetable.