Rohan O’Neill-Stevens, 18 and Campbell Rollo, 21, are trying to bring a young person’s perspective to the upcoming Nelson City Council elections. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Offering a younger voice on council

0
1212

They may be only 18 and 21-years-old but the two youngest candidates for Nelson City Council say you should get to know what they stand for before you judge them on just their age.

Rohan O’Neill-Stevens, 18 and Campbell Rollo, 21 are both putting up their hand for election in October’s local body elections.

Rohan says he was spurred on by “frustration and inspiration”.

“I have spent the past two years watching a lot of the council meetings and growing increasingly frustrated by what was occurring. I was looking around at the decisions being made and the feeling that Nelson is slowing down in terms of its progress and feeling that I wanted to contribute some vision.”

Campbell, a third-generation locksmith, says his first chance at voting was in the last elections and he saw that there was a lack of representation of young people on council.

He says spending the last two years on the Nelson Youth Council has showed him the good things and the “not so good things” about local government.

Rohan, who is on the Young Greens executive board and has recently returned home after studying in Germany, says that, growing up with the threat of climate change, he wants to communicate that there are solutions that can help solve that problem while also investing in the city.

“For example, enabling active transport and accessibility of transport while also having more pedestrian zones, so that the city centre is not just a place for cars.”

He says concerns over his age are fine to have but it’s not OK to dismiss him outright because of it.

The vision I want to put forward is not just for 18-years-olds, it’s for all Nelsonians.”

Campbell says its important for voters to see what they have to offer before they judge them.

“Nelson needs generational change and I think if there were young people around the table it would be good for the city.

Rohan says the voting group with lowest turnout is 18 to 30-year-olds and the all the highest is 65 plus.

“Part of that is, when people can see and related to those running, they are more invested in it.

So far, the pair say their youth hasn’t been a focus.

“I’ve been shocked by the overwhelming support,” Rohan says.