Spinoff: I’m 17 and I’m ready to vote. Here’s why I should count in this year’s election

Written by our very own Co-Director, Gina Dao-McLay, June 18 2020

Gina Dao-McLay from the Make it 16 campaign on how lowering the voting age could make all the difference.

My 18th birthday is eight days after September’s general election. I want to vote. I’m ready to vote. But the law currently stops me from doing so.  

As co-director of Make it 16, a campaign launched last year to lower the voting age here in Aotearoa, we’re taking a case to the High Court arguing that the current voting age of 18 is unjustified age discrimination and that it’s inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act. The High Court has confirmed it will test the rights of 16 and 17-year-olds to vote on Monday 24 August – less than two weeks before voting begins for this year’s general election.

Make it 16 is taking this court case as we believe in a truly strong, thriving democracy.  Just like previous extensions of the franchise, extending the voting age to 16 will make our democracy better.

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Stuff: Let teenagers vote, it won’t change a thing

Written by Thomas Coughlan, 2 Oct 2019

OPINION: Amid the chaos of last Friday’s Climate Strike, which saw a pack of grown men including the eminently unqualified Mike Hosking and Jeremy Clarkson, rain criticism upon –  wait for it – a 16-year-old Swedish activist, a note of sense was struck by Green MP Golriz Ghahraman.

Ghahraman announced she would be amending her member’s bill to include lowering the voting age to 16. 

It’s a proposal worth listening to. 

Voting is one of our most basic rights and, like all other rights, you have to have a very good reason to limit it. 

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Stuff: Voting age should be lowered and civics education is needed in schools, council says

Written by Tina Law, 28 Feb 2020

Sixteen and 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote, Christchurch’s civic leaders say. 

The Christchurch City Council has added its voice to a growing campaign to lobby the Government to reduce the voting age from 18 to 16.

The calls have been made in a submission to the Government’s justice committee inquiry into the 2019 local body election. The inquiry aims to address the low voter turnout. The council believes lowering the age will increase the number of young people voting and start the voting habit at a younger age. 

But the lowering of the voting age must be accompanied by a greater focus on teaching civics in schools, it said.

About 41 per cent of Christchurch voters took part in October’s local election, slightly lower than the national average of 42 per cent. 

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Stuff: If 16-year-olds want to vote, who are we to say no?

Written by Felix Desmarais 05:00, Sep 21 2019

OPINION: I doubt I would agree now with who I would have voted for when I was 16.

I had my convictions then, and they were no more or less righteous or rubbish than they are now I’m 31.

Our opinions, like ourselves, can change. That doesn’t make them less valid at the time.

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Stuff: ‘Politics is everything’ – Two teenagers make the case for lowering the voting age

Written by Mair Gibbs, 16, and Ruby Vidgen, 21 Sept 2019

As efforts to lower the voting age gain traction, with the Make it 16 campaign reaching parliament on Friday, Stuff asked two 16 year-olds why they’d like the chance to vote. 

Masterton student Mair Gibbs, 16, would like the chance to have her democratic say.
Masterton student Mair Gibbs, 16, would like the chance to have her democratic say.

Masterton student Mair Gibbs believes many 16 and 17-year-olds have the smarts to make good voting decisions which would only strengthen democracy across society.

OPINION: My generation has an incredibly nihilistic outlook on life. This is prominent in the remarkably high suicide rate, but is also reflected in the voter turnout.

If young people who are eligible to vote do not see a point in doing so, in participating in creating legislature that will ultimately have the greatest impact on them over the longest period of time, then why are no effective steps being taken to address this concerning issue?

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Magic Radio: Should we lower the voting age to 16?

Rebecca Matijevich, Make it 16 executive member, talks to Ryan Bridge on extending the voting age.

A campaign launched Friday aims to lower the voting age to 16, the ‘Make it 16’ campaign is testing the right for young people to vote in the High Court.

Campaigner Rebecca Matijevich tells Ryan Bridge, “voting is a fundamental human right, and 16 year olds can choose to leave school, and the family home, work full time, and drive.”

They deserve to have a voice in our democracy.

When responding to critics who argue that alcohol sales are restricted to over 18s Rebecca disagrees with the comparison saying, “having a beer is very recreational when voting is just fundamental human rights.”

Rebecca explains that issues being voted on now by the Government will affect the young the most in the future, using the example of the Carbon Zero 2050 bill which will have long reaching impact for 16 year olds now.

You can watch the full interview above.

RNZ: Teens campaign to lower voting age to 16

Written by Harry Lock, 20 Sept 2019

Back in 1969, Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon, the Beatles did their last public performance and young New Zealanders had to be 21 to vote.

Polling booths are open for New Zealand's general election in Auckland on September 23, 2017. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP)

Photo: AFP or licensors

But that year, in line with sweeping changes across the world, the voting age was reduced. But where other countries gave 18-year-olds the vote, New Zealand settled on 20.

That stayed the same until 1974, when New Zealand followed the world and reduced it down to 18.

The voting age debate in New Zealand: A History

While any legal movement on the voting age has been static, the debate has been lively!

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