Columba College has won the Russell McVeagh Otago-Southland Schools’ Debating Championships which concluded at the University of Otago on Sunday afternoon.
The Columba College team of Lydia Christensen, Lydia Joseph and Bridget Scott beat Otago Girls High School in the Grand Final. They successfully affirmed the motion “This House would aggressively raise the age of superannuation in New Zealand.”
The organisers were delighted to have Hon Michael Woodhouse attend the Grand Final for the Championships. He spoke after conclusion of the Grand Final on why superannuation was originally introduced in New Zealand and why the Government had proposed to raise the age of superannuation as an election promise this year. The Minister also presented the winning trophy to Columba College and the Best Speaker prize to Lydia Joseph.
The Otago-Southland regional competition, held annually and sponsored by Russell McVeagh, involved 25 teams this year from around the region.
Students debated in five preliminary rounds, on topics ranging from compulsory Te Reo in primary schools to raising taxes on property investors.
"Its great to see young students from Otago speaking powerfully on these difficult issues", said Hamish Saunders, President of the New Zealand Schools' Debating Council.
Students had half an hour to prepare their speeches after finding out what side of the topic they were arguing.
An Otago-Southland Regional Team was chosen for the annual New Zealand Schools' Debating Championships which will be held in Wellington in May. The Otago-Southland region will be represented by Sabrina Swerdloff (Otago Girls High School), Lydia Joseph (Columba College) and Patrick Hantler (John MacGlashan High School).