POLITICS

Council building goes young: 17yo announces candidacy for council Council building goes young: 17yo announces candidacy for council CREDIT: Fairfax NZ

Airport development focus in youngsters campaign

Monday 21 September 2015, 12:18PM
By Community Taranaki
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NEW PLYMOUTH

A 17 year old Taranaki student who has confirmed his candidacy for the New Plymouth local body elections has announced airport development will be a key focus of his campaign.

Michael Riley, 18 in October, made the announcement months after his massive campaign to support low cost carrier Jetstar coming to his city, of which was successful.

This week Riley said he would be pushing for the government to sell it's stake in the airport's 50/50 partnership with the council, so the airport could prepare for trans-tasman flights in the future.

"The airport needs to be fully prepared and well equipped for international services in the future." 

He said the government had been holding back the airport's upgrade process, which wasn't enough as it is. 

"The government have finally signed off the upgrade proposal, which already isn't enough, the planning isn't enough." 

"It's important the council get out of the partnership with the government and that we focus on creating a airport to be proud of."

Among other issues, port development, and transport would be an included focus with his airport push. 

The Spotswood College student, who turns 18 next month, has become a familiar face at council meetings over the last few years and was a member of the council's now defunct youth working party, which was put on ice late last year by mayor Andrew Judd.

In 2013 Riley set up the New Plymouth Youth in Politics Facebook page and began to amass a following. 

Since then he has made headlines for his stance on various issues, including urging the council to back a Maori ward for the next election, a move he says he would not support again as "the public has spoken".

His current Facebook page, Michael Riley for New Plymouth, has 3133 likes, which he is hoping he can turn into votes.

The local body elections will be held on October 8, 2016. Nominations open on July 15, 2016.

/FairfaxNZ, with extended reporting from Community Taranaki.