One Question Quiz
(Image: Ezra Whittaker-Powley)
(Image: Ezra Whittaker-Powley)

PoliticsAugust 28, 2020

Attention schools: The Policy NZ ‘idea contest’ for election 2020 is now live

(Image: Ezra Whittaker-Powley)
(Image: Ezra Whittaker-Powley)

Politics is a contest of ideas, and ahead of the 2020 election, we want to hear yours.

Question Time at parliament sometimes resembles an unruly classroom – and on a bad day, the comparison is unfair to classrooms. While creating the Policy tool, we wondered: could classrooms set an example for Question Time? 

Policy makes it easier to understand election issues, whether you’re a first-time voter, a chronically undecided swing voter, or a 10-year-old. And don’t take my word for it: “This is quite possibly the best website that we used in the last four years it was extremely engaging and all students enjoyed being educated using this website,” teachers from Oaklands School in Christchurch told us after using Policy 2017 with their year seven and eights.

Ahead of the 2020 election, we’re making it easier than ever for learners and teachers to engage with election issues by launching two programmes for students and schools to help future voters engage with the issues.

The Policy idea competition: What would you do if you were in charge?

We’re not content with publishing detailed summaries of the 900-plus policies announced by parties. We want to hear from the students of Aotearoa: if you were prime minister, what one thing would you do to change New Zealand for the better and why?

We’ve picked an all-star panel of judges with a range of life experience to consider your policy ideas:

  • Steven Adams, NBA player for the Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Mihingarangi Forbes, a multi-award winning journalist and broadcaster
  • Marilyn Waring, a professor of public policy and former MP
  • Tim Brown, Allbirds CEO and former All White
  • Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl), a science educator and nanotechnologist

The judges will be looking for creative policy ideas that will have a direct impact on a problem important to your community. Thanks to the Policy tool, it’s easy to learn about the parties’ policies — so we’re looking for creative ideas different to those already proposed by the parties. Finally, the judges will look at whether the policy ideas consider the consequences of the proposal, both positive and negative. 

(Image: Ezra Whittaker-Powley)

Your idea can be submitted as a short essay (up to 300 words) or as a short video (up to 90 seconds) and you can enter individually or as a group (including as a classroom). Winning entries will be published on The Spinoff, and be in to win other great prizes including cash, shoes from Allbirds, Unity Books vouchers, drinks from Karma, and more.

Entries close at 5pm on September 25. More details on how to enter are on the Policy website.

Policy for Schools: Resources for learners

We’ve also created a range of activity plans for classroom use to make it even easier for teachers to use Policy as a tool for learning. The resources focus on the values, priorities, and impacts that policies have on different groups of people and encourage learners to ask questions and challenge their assumptions. 

Each activity plan covers the background of an issue, linking students to reputable and student-friendly sources, and guides students to explore and reflect on different election policies by using Policy. Most plans are aimed at social studies or humanities students, but some will be suitable for economics (ie tax, income support) or science (ie climate change, fresh waters).

Policy for Schools activity plans are now available on the Policy website. If you’re a teacher and would like to share resources of your own, get in touch!

Keep going!