The 2016 National Finals of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from the 27th-30th of May at Victoria University of Wellington.

Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Kahurangi-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland took part in the competition. The regional teams comprised the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

Teams competed in seven preliminary round debates on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

– This house believes that the Government should extend the student loan scheme to students who study overseas, and bond them to return to New Zealand for a period of time after they graduate

– This house would require employers to interview candidates in a way that conceals their appearance, gender, ethnicity and age.

– This house believes that Britain is better off outside the European Union

– This house would introduce a universal basic income

– This house believes that international communities should pay developing communities not to extract natural resources

– This house believes that privacy is an outdated norm

– This house would ban pharmaceutical companies from advertising their products to consumers

After the seven preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Canterbury Black, who were broke first on six wins, Wellington Gold (five wins), Wellington Black (five wins) and Auckland White (four wins). Auckland Blue were also on four wins but had slightly fewer speaker points than Auckland Blue.

On Monday morning the semi-finals were held at Wellington Girls College and Wellington High School. The motion for the semi-finals was: “This house believes that states should be allowed to pay other states to relocate and settle refugees” The top two teams qualified for the Grand Final, with Auckland White (affirming) defeating Canterbury Black in a 2-1 decision  and Wellington Gold (negating) defeating Wellington Black in a unanimous decision.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament. The Official Party also included Tim Clarke from Russell McVeagh. While NZSDC Alumni and current MPs Megan Woods and Jacinda Ardern were unable to attend, Opposition Leader Andrew Little was noted to have briefly stopped by during one of the competitor’s speeches, perhaps to seek inspiration for the future direction of the country. The judges for the final also included recently elected MP and former NZSDC President Chris Bishop. The motion for the final was that “This house supports building state houses in areas of high socio economic wellbeing”.

Wellington Gold affirmed the motion and Auckland White negated. After an excellent and very close debate, Wellington Gold were declared the winners in a 3-2 decision.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2016 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of Samuel Penno (Hutt International Boys’ School) Peter McKenzie (Scots College), Piper Whitehead (Auckland Diocesan School for Girls), Amy Spittal (Waikato Diocesan School for Girls) and Matthew Moore (Christ’s College).

The best speaker of the Championships was Amy Spittal, with Peter McKenzie being named captain of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is very grateful to Russell McVeagh for its continued support of New Zealand Schools’ Debating, which allows these Championships to occur. We are also grateful to Victoria University of Wellington who hosted the Championships during the weekend.

Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable weekend – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and conveners Georgina Lomax-Sawyers and Tamara Jenkin.

Here are the full list of results from Nationals 2016

Winners: Wellington Gold

Ben Stockton (Wellington College)
Ursula Crawford (Wellington East Girls’ College)
Samuel Penno (Hutt International Boys’ School)
Coaches: Maddy Nash & Aric Shakur

Runners-Up: Auckland White

Geneva Roy (Kings College)
Karan Kalsi (Lynfield College)
Zachary Wong (Macleans College)
Coaches: Hamish Saunders & Lucy Harrison

Highly Commended speakers:

Jeanne-Marie Bonnet (Whanganui High School)
Zachary Wong (Macleans College)
Emily Wildy (St Margaret’s College)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker:

Piper Whitehead (Auckland Diocesan School for Girls)

Reserves to the 2016 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:

Gabrielle Penn (Whanganui High School)
Selena Ballantyne (Columba College)

2016 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:

Samuel Penno (Hutt International Boys’ School)
Peter McKenzie (Scots College)
Piper Whitehead (Auckland Diocesan School for Girls)
Amy Spittal (Waikato Diocesan School for Girls)
Matthew Moore (Christ’s College)

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2016 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:

Peter McKenzie (Scots College)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2016 National Championships:

Amy Spittal (Waikato Diocesan School for Girls)