Press release just issued….
Wellington wins New Zealand Schools Debating Champs
Wellington has defeated Auckland to win the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Champs, in the Grand Final held at Parliament this morning.
The Wellington team of James Gavey (Scots College), Thomas Mitchell (Wellington College) and Duncan McLachlan (Wellington College) successfully affirned the motion “That all alcohol advertising should be banned”, winning in a 2-1 split decision.
Wellington were also the winners in 2009.
Christopher Bishop, the President of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council which organises the tournament, said that the Grand Final was a superb debate on a highly topical issue. “Wellington managed to win over the judges by arguing that New Zealand has a serious problem with binge drinking, and that banning advertising was one way of improving the situation”, he said.
The final was the culmination of a weekend of debating between thirty six of New Zealand’s top secondary school students at Victoria University of Wellington.
Teams from Wellington, Auckland, Canterbury, Otago-Southland, Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Central North Island, Waikato and Nelson-Marlborough took part in five preliminary rounds of debates, confronting such issues as whether euthanasia should be legalised, whether tertiary education should be free, and if prisons should be privatised.
Students found out the topics and what side they were to argue only one hour before the debate.
Wellington and Auckland defeated Otago-Southland and Central North Island in the semi-finals.
The best five speakers at the tournament were named as members of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team, which will represent New Zealand at an international tournament in early 2011.
The team is Kieran Bunn (Captain, Logan Park High School), Nick Orr (Auckland Grammar School), Sophie Boot (Christchurch Girls’ High School), Duncan McLachlan (Wellington College) and Aric Shakur (Palmerston North Boys’ High School).
The Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships have been held annually since 1988 and are recognised as the country’s most prestigious school debating competition. The Championships are sponsored by Russell McVeagh.