Year 9 Social Studies students got an unexpected bonus when they visited Parliament on 21 March 2017 to find out how our democracy works. We were standing in the ‘media scrum’ area when Government ministers walked past, after their caucus meeting. Several of them stopped to say hello to the students, including Steven Joyce, Hekia Parata and Paula Bennett.
Then the Prime Minister, Bill English, stopped and chatted with our girls for several minutes. He answered such questions as where do you have your holidays, do you do much travelling, and what’s it like to be the Prime Minister. Meeting him was the highlight of the field trip, as shown in these comments:
“Meeting Bill English was an amazing surprise. I really enjoyed getting to ask him questions about his job. Because of this I came out of Parliament feeling like I knew not only a lot more about Parliament, but also about the jobs the Prime Minister does. Bill was very friendly and made the trip even better.”
“The thing that I most enjoyed on the trip was getting to meet Bill English. This was my favourite part because I had never met a Prime Minister before then. It was cool because we also got a photo with him.”
Other aspects of the trip which impressed the students included how laws are made, the billions of dollars collected in taxes each year and what the money is used for, and the rules of the debating chamber. Several students were fascinated with the role of the Speaker and the golden mace, especially because the Speaker could kick MPs out of the chamber, including the Prime Minister.
Social Studies teacher