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New Zealand Court Rule out age of 18 Vote Discrimination

New Zealand Votes

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 20: A voter places a ballot paper into the ballot box during the Mana By-Election at Cannons Creek School polling booth on November 20, 2010 in Wellington, New Zealand. The Mana seat was vacated by former Labour Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban, who announced her resignation from the New Zealand Parliament in August. Eight candidates will contest the by-election. (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)

The country’s existing voting age of 18 is discriminatory, according to a ruling issued on Monday by New Zealand‘s top court, compelling parliament to consider lowering it.

The advocacy group Make It 16, which sought to lower the limit to accommodate 16 and 17-year-olds, filed the lawsuit, which has been pending in the courts since 2020.

The country’s Bill of Rights, which guaranteed individuals the freedom from age discrimination at the age of 16, was determined to be in conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling that the present voting age of 18 was unconstitutional.

The choice started a procedure that required the matter to be discussed in parliament and examined by a select committee. However, it does not compel the legislature to raise the voting age.

Caeden Tipler, a co-director of Make it 16 stated, “This is historic.” The government and parliament cannot ignore such a clear legal and moral message. They must permit our voting.

According to the group’s website, there is inadequate justification to prevent 16-year-olds from voting when they are old enough to drive, have a job, and pay taxes.

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, announced that legislation lowering the legal drinking age to 16 would be drafted by the government and presented to a vote in parliament.

I personally support lowering the voting age, but any change in electoral law of this nature requires support from 75% of parliamentarians, she stated, not just her or the administration.

Political parties’ positions on the matter varied. The major opposition party, the National Party, opposed the Green Party’s demand to immediately decrease the voting age to 16.

Christopher Luxon, the leader of the National Party, said: “Obviously, we have to draw a line someplace. “We feel that the age limit should be 18. The cutting off age varies greatly between nations, but in our opinion, 18 is quite acceptable.”

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