Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 5. 1971
The apparent intent of the following is to present an account of a much feted event 'New Zealand's Fully Representative Youth Congress 1971'. The latest motive is to provide a publicity fillip for a somewhat tottering organisation which is attempting to shake the youth of the country into a clamour for application forms.
Briefly I will describe the framework for those who have not yawned or flipped over the page, groaning 'another bloody crapped out middle-class conference.' The organising bureaucracy is basically oligarchic, being composed of the World Youth Assembly delegates chosen for their superb representativeness by the National Youth Council. That is, for being bright well known young-man-about-campus. Guy Salmon (student) Anna Smith (ditto) Mana Cracknell (ditto) Eleanor Doig (student teacher) and myself, (ditto). Get it? Appointed to have the impartiality and know-how to elect 150 representatives of 16-24 year old Kiwis to come, rap and vote. The National Youth Council will supply the $6000 required and so has us hung by a rather delicate part.
Selection is to be based on initial scrutiny of written applications (sent to box 11.140, Manners Street) and subsequent interviewing of the luck survivors by the above-named five, jointly with committees of "youth organisers" in local centres, in a safari-type expedition around the country in May. Criteria for selection are an amalgam of occupational representativity, involvement in "social issues" (or activism - dirty word) ability to act as a spokesman for groups, leadership (defined freely) and preparedness to Do something about the decisions spewed out by the conference. The creation of some kind of movement arising out of the happenings is the explicit if overly imaginative end of it all. Matter for debate has been defined under broad non-limiting topics, probably enabling every Jack and Jane to ride his own band-wagon at some stage.
The site is the City Mission campsite in Otaki familiar to most students, which has the kind of natural environment which it is hoped will relax the uptight atmosphere of most quasi-political meetings.
The date is the July-August holidays, 1971 when it is expected most candidates will be able to crawl out of their social igloos to discuss affairs of National Consequence. Anyone is free to apply.
Those who feel a strong emotional bond with NZUSA must be notified that the handful of student officers who are your national representatives have taken the brave stand of opposing Huihuinga Tamariki in the WYC for manifold and mysterious reasons. These may or may not include organisational jealousy by a status conscious secretariat, personal rivalries with a rising star on the horizon of youth; politics, disinclination to scrounge for voluminous finances, abstruse theories of Social Change (quote Mike Law "It simply does not conform with my private theories about how society works"), and genuine scepticism about the ability of such a conception to produce anything but a hotch-potch of mediocre (read "non-radical") ideas for you to judge. In many ways the organising of this scene has been more of a series of political intrigues and power hassles than the administrative business foreseen. Support had erupted from some surprising and varied sources, including several Polynesian groups, trade unions, school bodies, and even some of the humbler (or is it softer headed?) radicals.
Whether or not this baby miscarries is dependent upon who wishes to nourish it; if there is no support it will die peacefully and mercifully; if it is no more than a bourgeois romance that young human New Zealanders are capable or desirous of getting together to form a Youth Platform; if in fact the idea of a Youth Platform makes sense in our tiny divided islands; if the shortcomings in the present conception are seen as incurably rank, or if politics are to be lived, rather than organised, then arseholes to the Generation Gap, and nuts to youthful idealism.