Today the signatures of 72 Mayors, Deputy Mayors, Councillors, Local board members, and the LGNZ Young Elected Members Committee will be handed to the Government in support of making the voting age 16 via an open letter organised by Make It 16.
“Young people will be significantly impacted by decisions local government makes today. It is time the Government supports the voices of young people and makes the voting age 16 for local elections” says Make It 16 co-director Cate Tipler (they/them).
“There is clear desire for it within the local government sector, as shown by this open letter. Rangatahi deserve a say in important local issues like transport, housing, public spaces, the environment, and climate change.”
“Local elections also suffer from serious turnout problems. Making the voting age 16 can help fix that. It has been proven internationally to increase turnout across the board over time as the earlier a person votes, the more likely they are to continue voting for the rest of their life.”
“Local Government is local, and people are generally more connected to their local community when they are 16-17 rather than when they are 18-21, when they have often left home or even moved to an entirely new city.”
“Because of the ratepayer role, landlords can vote multiple times in local elections but 16-17 year-olds can’t even vote once. That’s just not good enough.”
“A voting age of 16 for sub-national elections has been successful around the world, including in Germany, Scotland, and Wales” said Cate.
Make It 16 members and Crs Tamatha Paul of Wellington and Josh Trlin of Porirua will be handing over the open letter to Ginny Anderson MP, Chair of Parliament’s Justice Select Committee, on the Parliament forecourt at 4pm on Wednesday 29 June. Media are welcome to attend and spokespeople will be provided on location or upon request.