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UPI: New Zealand to consider lowering voting age to 16

21-11-2022 |

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that lawmakers will consider legislation to lower the voting age to 16 after the country's Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the country's election laws establishing a minimum voting age of 18 are inconsistent with its Bill of Rights Act of 1990 that protects one from discrimination on the basis of age when they reach 16 years old.

Ardern made the announcement during a post-cabinet press conference, stating a super majority of 75% of lawmakers will be needed to pass the proposed legislation as it is a matter of electoral law.

"Ultimately, we see the best way for the matter to be resolved is for the whole Parliament to vote on it," she said. "Government alone cannot change this law."

"This is history," Caeden Tipler, Make It 16 co-director, said in a statement. "Today, New Zealand's highest court has confirmed that stopping young people from voting is a breach of our human rights."

The prime minister self said that while she supports lowering the voting age she cannot speak on how any member of the House, including those of her own Labor Party, stands on the issue.

Paul Goldsmith, spokesman for the center-right National Party, said they see no compelling case to lower the voting age.

"National will keep the voting age at 18," he said in a statement.

If New Zealand passes the legislation, it will join a short list of countries that have a minimum voting age of 16, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Malta, Nicaragua, Scotland and Germany, but in only some local elections, according to the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network.

Source: UPI