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Independent Panel To Review Voting Age

Today the Minister of Justice, Hon. Kris Faafoi, has announced that the Government is establishing an independent review into the Electoral System, which will include the voting age.

“Make It 16 is very excited about today’s announcement.” said Make It 16 Co-Director Cate Tipler.

“Make It 16 has been pushing to make the voting age 16 for over 2 years. This is a big step along the way to making that happen.

“Clearly the government has taken notice of the mounting pressure to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote. People are recognising the strength of Make It 16’s arguments and know it is time for change.

“We are confident that the panel of experts will take a look at the evidence and say that suffrage must be expanded. Allowing 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote has been shown to help increase turnout where it has been done overseas, particularly Scotland and Austria. Giving people the vote earlier helps to embed voting habits for life, improving overall turnout in the long-run.

“That is all without mentioning that a voting age of 18 is unjustified discrimination in both morals and our human rights law.”

Editors Notes

Read more about the announcement via the Minister’s press release here: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/government-review-electoral-law

In the Scottish Independence Referendum, the first vote to be held after Scotland allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to vote, the Scottish Electoral Commission found “significantly higher” numbers of 16 and 17-year-olds (75%) voted than 18-24-year-olds (54%). 97% of 16 and 17-year-old voters said they would vote again. See pages 1 and 64 in https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/sites/default/files/pdf_file/Scottish-independence-referendum-report.pdf

Our Court case, in which we claim the voting age is unjustified age discrimination under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, is currently awaiting judgment from the Court of Appeal

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