Can #JABAT stars finally lift The Vote ratings?

TheVoteSince The Vote has been dumped for 2014 it is completely unsurprising that the experts on the panel for this month include two comedians from TV3’s Jono and Ben at Ten.  I’m not sure if the reason they’re on the show is because they’re young enough, without actually being teenagers, to qualify as having an authoritative voice on the subject or because the show they appear on, which could loosely fall into the current affairs category, rates nearly double what The Vote usually does and their presence may draw across their fans.


Today’s world is full of opportunities for Kiwi teens, but with opportunities come risks.  Two New Zealanders – Lorde and Lydia Ko – have topped Time Magazine’s 2013 list of the world’s most influential teenagers.  But back home, the Roast Busters story has called into question whether our teens are really coping with the pressures of modern life.

This month, two teams led by Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner will argue the moot ‘Teenagers have never had it so good’ in TV3’s national debate programme The Vote, screening at 8.30pm next Wednesday night.  Broadcaster and lawyer, Linda Clark is again the referee, charged with keeping the debaters in line and on topic.

The coming generation are smarter, more tolerant and will live longer than any generation before them.  Today’s teens today don’t have to go to war, don’t have to hide their sexuality or beliefs, are getting a better education, are more likely to travel and anyway, the world is just a mouse click away. The world really is their oyster. And let’s be honest, teenagers have always pushed the boundaries.

Is it harder or easier to be a teenager these days? Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, says there’s been a fundamental change in the past two generations – social changes have been rapid and dramatic, social boundaries are more fluid; the influential role of parents, teachers and community groups have been replaced by celebrities and friends; the internet and new social freedoms have put immense pressure on teens to make good personal choices; drugs, alcohol, credit cards and cheap cars have made risky behaviour easier to risk.

What’s happening to our teenagers? Do we need to worry? The world has changed so much in just a generation, are they struggling with the pressures of modern life?

A coin toss has decided Guyon Espiner will argue ‘Teenagers have never had it so good,’ with Duncan Garner arguing AGAINST the moot.  Joining Duncan and Guyon next week are six panellists:

FOR – Led by Guyon Espiner

  • Sam Johnson entered local politics in 2010, and is best known for founding the Volunteer Army after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes. He’s collected a stack of youth awards since then, including the Sir Peter Blake leadership award, and in 2012 was named Young New Zealander of the Year. Sam believes tools such as the internet enable teenagers these days to access opportunities their predecessors wouldn’t have dreamed of, and that the benefits of being a teenager today far outweigh the negatives.
  • Tim O’Connor is the Headmaster of Auckland Grammar School, and has been involved with secondary education since 1990. He has represented Manawatu in hockey and umpired at an international level, and was awarded a Woolf Fisher Fellowship in 2007. Tim’s philosophy centers around the importance of education and achievement, and he believes teenagers today have a huge advantage as they are digital natives and are provided with unparalleled opportunities to find their niche in the world.
  • Guy Williams was a teenager himself until just a few years ago, and reckons he knows a thing or two about being young. He grew up in Nelson, and has been a comedian with TV3 since 2010, working on shows such as Jono and Ben at Ten, and 7 Days. Guy thinks teenagers often get a bad rep in the media, and that by and large they’re actually a pretty good bunch of people.

AGAINSTLed by Duncan Garner

  • Rose Matafeo is one of New Zealand’s young comedic talents. The 21-year-old won the 2013 Billy T Award, and is a full time writer for TV3’s Jono and Ben at Ten. Not long out of the teenage years herself, Rose believes that with increasing access to everything online we’re seeing a “re-wiring of young minds”, and it’s becoming harder for the youth of today to form their own opinions.
  • Jacinda Ardern is No. 6 in Labour’s Shadow Cabinet and the spokesperson for Children, Corrections, Police and Arts, Culture and Heritage.  In 2007 Jacinda was the second woman to be elected President of ISUY, the largest international political youth organisation globally, and improving the welfare of teens today has been an on-going focus of her career.  She believes that teenagers today are forced to become very resilient in the face of social media, which exacerbates an already incredibly difficult stage of life.
  • Greg Fleming left a career in finance to be the General Manager of Parenting with Confidence (now Parents Inc.) before founding the independent think tank Maxim Institute in 2001. A recipient of the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award, Greg is now the CEO of the Venn Foundation, a charity that provides contexts for young adults to engage with the ideas and culture that shapes them and their world. A father of five, he believes it’s a scary time to be a teen; with the internet anything is possible and because of that, the rules are never clear.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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