THE TIME IS NOW
LOWER THE VOTING AGE
Why Make It 16?
We are just as impacted by the decisions our government make as people over 18 AND we will be inheriting the future impacts of those decisions too.
Climate change poses an existential threat to young people and our future generations.
We face a future where housing prices and living costs will greatly affect our lifestyle.
Decent education where students are confidently prepared for their future is still yet to come.
Our country also has the worst youth mental health crisis in the OECD.
Young people will be—and are—already bearing the brunt of all of this, with little to no say in the solution. Decisions that affect us, issues that determine the course of our life, are not being decided by us. As voices of the future, we deserve to have our say.
Five Reasons to Make It 16
At 16 you already make important life decisions and hold important responsibilities; you can drive, consent to sex, consent to medical procedures, leave school, leave home, pay rent, own a firearms license and work full time.
There shouldn’t be taxation without representation. Many rangatahi get their first job before 18 and pay income tax. 16 year-olds can also work full-time, paying significant income tax without having a say on where this money is going.
Many other countries like Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Scotland, Wales, Guernsey, Isle of Man and more have lowered their voting age to 16. Canada currently has a bill to lower the voting age going through Parliament and Germany’s three party coalition all made a party promise to lower the voting age to 16.
The New Zealand Supreme Court has ruled that preventing 16 and 17 year olds from voting is unjustified age discrimination and a breach of the Bill of Rights Act. You can read more about our Court Case here.
Voting is a fundamental right. Every voice deserves to be heard in a democracy. Voting is about bringing together everyone’s backgrounds, life experiences and opinions to create an accurate representation of the wants and needs of everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand. By extending the voting age to 16, we’re allowing more voices to be heard, strengthening our democracy and helping the government to make better policies and changes that will benefit more people overall — including rangatahi.
“As a parent of a 16 year old, I know my young person has the capacity and will to express views on the type of world they want to live in. I think we all can benefit from listening to the questions our young people want answered and to their hopes and aspirations."