New Zealand lawmakers are set to debate lowering the country’s voting age to 16 after the nation’s high court ruled its current voting age of 18 years old is discriminatory.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the current law was inconsistent with New Zealand’s Bill of Rights, which mandates that citizens cannot face age discrimination after reaching 16.
This ruling came after a nearly two-year long legal battle led by Make It 16.
“This is history,”Caeden Tipler (Make It 16) added: “The government and parliament cannot ignore such a clear legal and moral message. They must let us vote.”
Advocates said there wasn’t a reason to prohibit 16-17-year-olds voting. However, they can legally drive and hold full-time jobs that will require them to pay tax.
The court’s ruling begins a process where the issue must be discussed by parliament and reviewed by a select committee.
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, stated that an act to lower voting age from 16 to 16 years would be written before it could be put on the ballot.
“I personally support a decrease in the voting age but 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,”She said.
The subject is split between lawmakers, with both the Green Party supporting lowering the voting threshold and the opposition National Party opposed.
“Obviously, we’ve got to draw a line somewhere,”Christopher Luxon is the leader of National party. “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’s just fine.”
New Zealanders must have parental permission before purchasing booze.
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