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March 29, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Look! People without grey hair talking about politics!

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Vic launches sweet seminar series

Victoria University’s Stout Research Centre kicked off a seminar series last week analysing the current political climate in New Zealand.

Director of the Stout Research Centre Professor Lydia Wevers says the series entitled ‘New Generation Politics in Aotearoa New Zealand’ will see a range of perspectives from both new MPs and academics, concentrating on a perceived generational shift in New Zealand politics.

“We live in New Zealand’s political centre and it is important to take the pulse of our politics from time to time. The Stout Centre’s Parliamentary Conference focuses on recent parliamentary history; this new series is designed to look at what is happening right now.”

The seminars will not only give the public, students and staff a chance to hear from young MPs, but will also feature a number of new lecturers from Victoria University’s Political Science and International Relations programme, such as Hilary Pearse and Fiona Barker.

“Coincidentally the Political Science and International Relations programme at Victoria has also had a change in guard, with a new generation of young academics.

“We thought it would be interesting to ask a mix of academics and new MPs to discuss the current political landscape and whether there really is a ‘new generation’ in politics,” says Wevers.

Victoria University old hands Dr Jon Johansson and Professor Elizabeth McLeay will also give presentations.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei opened the series exploring whether there has been a genuine generational shift in both representation and in how politics is done.

Despite arguments that John Key’s leadership represents a generational change, Turei said that both Key and former Prime Minister Helen Clark pursued an older style of politics.

Turei argued that “baby boomers are nowhere near relinquishing political control”, and that the current political landscape represented a “last gasp of old boy politics”.

Turei also said the referendum on New Zealand’s electoral system is one of the most important issues around this generational shift.

“MMP has made a real difference for younger representation in parliament… [and is] at very serious risk if MMP is lost.”

The seminar series runs on Wednesdays at the Stout Research Centre at the Kelburn campus, through to June. A full programme and more details are here.

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