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Letter to Ashburton Mayor

16 Sept 2021

Letter in response to Ashburton District Council Meeting 15 September 2021

Mayor Neil Brown
Ashburton District Council
5 Baring Square West
Ashburton 7700

The honourable Mr Neil Brown, Mayor of Ashburton

CC, All Councillors, Ashburton District Council.


Tēnā koutou,

I was disappointed to read comments by Councillors reported in the stuff piece titled “Ashburton councillors blame ‘entitled young people’ for labour shortage”.

The comments expressed in this article are unhelpful, overly generalised, and damaging. They have left no room for young people who are doing amazing things in their schools and communities. The role of the District Council should be to support and encourage its communities. Instead, you have widened the gap between yourselves and young people who often already feel disconnected.

Relieving yourselves and businesses of responsibility and shifting the blame to parents and teachers, who are often overworked and under-resourced, is not fair, helpful, or accurate.

I believe your Councillors would greatly benefit from some training to equip you with how to engage with young people from a positive youth development and strengths-based perspective young people do have much to offer, belittling them is not going to bring it out.

Rerenga Awa | Canterbury Youth Workers Collective is an organisation whose kaupapa is about strengthening the youth development sector to meet the needs of young people we would be more than happy to offer support and development for Ashburton Councillors so that they can better engage with young people and, therefore, have better outcomes for young people within their community while practicing within the framework of Positive Youth Development.

As a society, we are facing many challenges around employment and engaging well with all types of people across many sectors. Let’s face these challenges together, rather than passing the blame.

I am more than happy to talk further regarding this response and to meet with the councillors to offer some training around engaging well with young people.

Tim Perry


Rerenga Awa | Canterbury Youth Workers Collective

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