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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 7, No. 4 June 7, 1944

Easter Youth Conference

Easter Youth Conference

At Wellington this Easter a National Youth Conference was called, and V.U.C. was represented at the Conference and has a member on the committee set up—"Youth for Victory Committee." The Conference was well attended and fairly representative, considering the travel restrictions. Apart front the delegates from V.U.C., students were in various other delegations, including Catholic and Methodist Youth, Communist and Labour Junior Party representatives, and the Young People's Club.

The Conference was opened by Major Skinner, M.P., M.C., Minister for Rehabilitation. An able speaker, Major Skinner dwelt on the part youth is playing in the present conflict both overseas and at home. He had many interesting anecdotes of the front line, little-known facts about the fighting in Crete and in the desert and the part of New Zealanders in this struggle.

World Youth

Major Skinner stressed the problem of Axis youth, a generation of young men and women, deeply indoctrinated with the Nazi creed and a blind acceptance of Nazism. He stressed that this was our problem. Some of these were misguided, some were taking the path of least resistance in a [unclear: fascist] country, but others were the scum of the earth and a menace to humanity. He quoted an Austrian doctor whom he had met in London: "After Germany is defeated the policing of Germany should be handed over to the competent and reliable friends of the Allies and leaders of the underground- movement in Germany—the German Communist Party.

Major Skinner spoke of youth rallies he had attended in Great Britain, where the young people, from school children onwards, came together to discuss problems affecting them, war policy, and the home front where representatives of Free Germany and other Axis countries spoke of the underground movement in Europe. He spoke also or the wonderful mass singing at a Welsh youth rally.

Youth and the War Effort

This was a session devoted to the discussion of the position of young people in the services. The material was interesting but the discussion weak.

Youth and Education

The recommendations brought down and the needs expressed were interesting in obviously reflecting teaching experience and a knowledge of the subject, but some showed a rather woolly and Utopian approach to the question. For example, "Need for greater parent-teacher co-operation" showed real appreciation of a foremost educational problem.

Youth and Their Work

This dealt particularly with the question of apprentices and young people in shops, on the land or in industry.

Youth and Health

The discussion of the health of the young people was opened by Dr. H. Smith, District Medical Officer, who spoke at V.U.C. last year.

Rights of Youth

The committee passed a resolution on the rights of youth. In brief: Freedom of speech, of assembly, of organisation, of conscience, and of thought.

The right of citizenship, that is, the active participation in running the affairs of the country, whether local or national.

Equality of sexes. No discrimination on the grounds of sex for wages paid.

The right to work.

The right to adequate working conditions.

The right to education. There should be no economic or social barrier.

The right to recreation and leisure. The right to health—with emphasis on health rather than preventive medicine.

Duties of Youth

It was not, however, mentioned in the resolution given to the press that the Conference recognised the "Duties of Youth."

The Conference was on the duties of youth, but the failure to mention this specifically in the final resolution has led to attacks from certain sections of the press. It may be stressed, however, that the committee set up was called "Youth for Victory Committee," which shows the general tenor of the Conference.

The V.U.C. delegate on the committee is Cecil Crompton.