A unique internship has given ACG Sunderland’s Tiara Siregar a taste of life inside New Zealand’s political epicentre.
The Year 13 student was recently treated to four days in Wellington with Government Minister and MP for Te Atatu, the Hon Phil Twyford. During her time there, Tiara had the chance to explore Parliament building, experience the House sitting, and shadow the Minister as he carried out his day-to-day duties.
“It was such an unforgettable and eye-opening experience for me,” says Tiara, who has set her sights on studying economics at university next year.
“I got to meet lots of different people, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, and Deputy Secretary, Trade and Economic Vangelis Vitalis. Seeing all the MPs who you usually just see on television was mind-blowing – and being able to go into parts of Parliament that only staff can access was pretty cool too!”
Every year, the Minister offers an internship to one Year 13 student from each high school in his electorate. With flights, accommodation and meals all paid for, it’s an excellent chance for young, aspiring economists and politicians to gain an insight into political life.
“The experience made me think about different areas of economics which I could study at university and exposed me to new ideas and opinions. I gained an understanding into how difficult and long-winded policymaking can be, as well as the different areas it can relate to, such as urban planning and disarmament.”
Having watched her fair share of heated political debates on the TV news, Tiara was surprised to discover how harmonious most daily political interactions were.
“When you see the House sitting, it looks so stressful and intimidating, but the committee meetings I attended were quite different. They were more focused on having discussions than shouting and debating!”
The internship has not only broadened Tiara’s knowledge and understanding but has fueled her excitement for delving further into economics at university.
“This internship was such an amazing experience. I’m very lucky and feel so grateful I had the opportunity to do this.”