New Zealand’s voting age has been ruled discriminatory by the country’s highest court. The case was brought by advocacy group make it 16 in 2020, in a bid to lower the voting age from 18 to 16.
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The Supreme Court found the current voting age of 18 was inconsistent with the country’s Bill of Rights, which gives people a right to be free from age discrimination when they turn 16.
The group argues there is no reason to stop 16 year olds voting when they can drive, work full-time and pay tax.
What Others Are Saying:
Political parties in New Zealand have mixed views on the subject.
The Green Party wants immediate action to lower the voting age to 16, but the largest opposition party, the National party, does not support the shift.
“Obviously, we’ve got to draw a line somewhere,” National party leader Christopher Luxon said. “We’re comfortable with the line being 18. Lots of different countries have different places where the line’s drawn and from our point of view, 18 is just fine.”
The centre-right National party opposes the move, while the Labour party is yet to state whether it would support a change in voting age or not.
Following the ruling, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she personally supported reducing the voting age to 16, but added that “it is not a matter simply for me or even the government, any change in electoral law of this nature requires 75% of parliamentarian support“.