Make It 16 is a non-partisan youth-led campaign advocating for the vote to be extended to 16 and 17-year-olds in Aotearoa. We believe in the power of youth voice, and letting young people have a say on the decisions that will impact them the most. There are lots of reasons why we believe in lowering the voting age, but fundamentally voting is a human right. There is insufficient justification to stop 16 year-olds from voting when we can drive, work full time and pay tax.
Make it 16 was formed out of Youth Parliament in September of 2019. Our launching event was hosted by Chlöe Swarbrick and featured speeches from many people including then Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft, Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul, Labour MP Greg O’Connor and many more. In just two years our campaign has launched a court case (and been to court three times!), we’ve been involved in submissions to Parliament, talks in schools, a documentary by The Spinoff and we’ve created a petition that’s gained thousands of signatures.
We pride ourselves on being the first country in the world to give women the right to vote, and although there are at least a dozen countries with a voting age of 16 already, we can be next. Youth-led activism in Aotearoa - past and present - has highlighted how 16 and 17-year-olds both want and need a voice in our democracy.