Old blokes like me who have been around 80 plus years don’t have a mortgage on wisdom.
I’ve just met another one - Luke Wijohn, a young man from Westmere, not yet a household name, but I’m sure one day he will be.
Wijohn is the Green Party candidate for Mt Albert, at 18 years of age. I asked him if that’s too young to stand for parliament. He smiles (one of his great attributes) and tells me that “while male brains aren’t fully mature until a person is about 25, female brains mature by about 18. That let’s Chloe off the hook,” he grins, “but I don’t know about me.”
However, he goes on to tell me with some glee that everyone’s brain starts to deteriorate from about 40. “That,” he said “means most politicians.”
Luke Wijohn began his political involvement last year when he was a year 13 student at Western Springs College. He began to lead the School Strike for Climate, which at its height included a march of 80,000 down Queen Street. He shared a space with Judith Collins when both were being interviewed by media. Collins was snaringly dismissive of him, he told me.
We talked about education and the New Zealand school system.
Wijohn says too many children in an affluent country like New Zealand are suffering hunger and cold, and often don’t have shoes to wear to school. He told me he’s heard said “you’ve got no lunch, drink lots of water and you won’t feel hungry. What a disgrace,” he says.
Luke Wijohn is strongly in favour of the Green Party wealth tax proposal.
“The inequality gap and the wealth gap in New Zealand is far too high,” Luke says. “Millionaires need to pay back a little for future generations.”
Luke Wijohn has an interesting background. He is of Maori and Scandinavian ancestry, and didn’t begin learning in English until Year 9 at Western Springs College. Before that he had kohanga reo and then Maori immersion class at Richmond Road School.
That background certainly hasn’t hindered his education. Despite his time devoted to education and climate politics, he still achieved highly in NCEA and received a 30,000 dollar scholarship to study arts and law at Victoria University next year.
Wijohn has no illusions about winning the seat of Mt Albert against our excellent leader Jacinda Ardern, but is calling for as many list votes for the Greens as he can muster.
“One day the Green Party should be the largest party in New Zealand,” he enthuses. “Labour is doing a good job, but climate change, species extinction, and habitat destruction are still devastating our world.”
Wijohn calls for vigilance, and asserts that National has stepped right back from 21st century solutions.
Luke Wijohn is on the right side of history, a credit to our youth and a bright light in a darkening world.
He may not win this time, but just watch for his name in future. He is destined to be an influential leader.
Ponsonby News urges readers to watch out for his future influence. (John Elliott)
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