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  • Make It 16

Make It 16 petition to lower voting age given to MPs

On the 29th September, Make It 16 handed over a petition to Parliament, asking for a law change to allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in local and general elections. The petition has over 7,000 signatures.

“This petition shows that thousands of New Zealanders are supporters of our movement. The demand for change is strong, and Parliament must listen to it. We hope that a select committee will closely look into this petition and make recommendations to lower the voting age.” says Caeden Tipler, Make It 16 co-director (they/them, age 16).

“I want to vote in these local elections, but the law stops me. At the same time the law allows landlords to vote multiple times through the ratepayer roll.

“Young people care passionately about the huge issues facing Aotearoa’s future. We will be impacted the most by political decisions made today in local and central government. We are asking Parliament for our basic human right to vote, a right that 16 and 17 year-olds in Scotland, Austria, Wales, Argentina, Brazil and many other countries already have.

“Regardless of how Parliament treats this petition, Make It 16 will continue pushing this issue in as many ways as possible. The women’s suffrage movement in the 19th century had multiple petitions, and had law changes voted down multiple times in Parliament, before they were successful.

“As well as this petition:

  • we are awaiting a Supreme Court decision on a potential ‘declaration of inconsistency’, following the Court of Appeal in 2021 indicating the voting age is unjustified age discrimination;

  • there is an independent electoral review currently considering the voting age, with the expert panel calling for public submissions;

  • the Review into the Future for Local Government will come out with their draft report in October, which the review group has indicated will likely include a recommendation to lower the voting age.

“This movement is going from strength to strength, and Make It 16 is confident New Zealand will join Scotland, Wales, Austria and others in giving the vote to 16 and 17 year-olds. It’s a question of when not if. This petition is an opportunity for Parliament to start this process of lowering the voting age now and not kick the can down the road.”

Arena Williams, MP for Manurewa, has accept the petition and presented it to Parliament.

Editor Notes:

  • Make it 16 co-Director Caeden Tipler used to be known as Cate Tipler but has recently changed their name. They continue to use they/them pronouns.


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