Last month, Head girl Bridget Archibald completed an internship with Labour Party politician Phil Twyford. For three days, she shadowed Mr Twyford at Parliament.
“He had a very busy schedule, so when I arrived at Parliament, we got straight into it,” she said. “I sat through many select committees that focused on issues that a group of MPs wanted to address. I joined Mr Twyford at one-on-one meetings, where he spoke to various businesspeople, Union members and fellow colleagues about issues or ideas.”
The experience has opened her eyes to the world of politics – from the role of Question Time as a way to “embarrass ministers” into being accountable for their actions, to the importance of always ensuring your facts are correct. Watching politicians debating ideas showed her that there are good and bad aspects to every idea.
“I also learnt that it doesn’t matter what party you join, it’s not about your own opinion, it’s about the opinion of New Zealanders,” she said.
Bridget, a keen scientist, plans to study Physiotherapy at university next year, but says the internship has definitely opened her eyes to a future in parliament.
“The main thing that interests me in politics is the power to make a difference in the country. Physiotherapy and sport is what interests me now, but I am definitely open to the idea of politics as a future career. Many of the MPs at parliament gave me advice. They said do what you are passionate about first, study what really makes you happy. Once you’ve done that, bring it to parliament and you will do great.
“Parliament is, after all a house of representatives.”
ACG Sunderland Principal Nathan Villars suggested the internship to Bridget last year. “We encourage our students to pursue as many interests as they can, and I’m very proud that Bridget took up this challenge with such enthusiasm,” he said. “The learnings and life experience she’s taken away from it are evident.”