Those who support the idea of allowing children to vote argue that politicians are ignoring the voices of those who will be most affected by decisions being made now. That is a ridiculous argument, however, as anyone who is not actually on their deathbed at this moment in time is likely to be affected by decisions being made now, and those under the age of 18 are likely to be more affected by having current decisions overturned at some point in the future than anyone else.

But hey. If the sanctity around Greta Thunberg is anything to go by, we seem to have gone from ‘children should be seen and not heard’ to ‘children should be listened to more than anyone else’, even though children are simply not mature enough to be able to make the sort of reasoned decisions that would shape our country and our economy for the next few years.

None of that matters though. The children have spoken.

At 16, you can leave school, leave home, work fulltime, apply for a gun licence and fly a plane solo. So why can’t you vote?

That’s the question posed by a new campaign to lower the voting age in New Zealand to 16.

The campaign, named “Make it 16” will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights of 16 and 17-year-olds to be able to vote in elections.

Maybe, but you can’t drink alcohol, join the army, get a full driving licence, get married (without parental consent), buy cigarettes or vaping products, gamble, go into a public house or drink alcohol in a restaurant without parental supervision. In other words, you are not allowed to do any of the adult things without adult supervision until you are 18. That tells you everything you need to know.

“If a person is over 16 then it is unlawful for any businesses or organisations to discriminate against them based on their age.

What rubbish. Supermarkets discriminate by asking for ID if young people are buying cigarettes or alcohol. Bottle stores discriminate by not allowing young people through the doors. Vape shops discriminate by having an R18 policy. Gee, even cinemas discriminate if a movie has an R18 rating.

And maybe 16-year-olds can work full time, but there are few 16-year-old company directors. Most 16 year-olds are in training positions or menial roles, under very strict supervision by an adult at all times.

Did you see what I did there? I have employed 16-year-olds. They require ADULT SUPERVISION most of the time.

“Politicians […] are allowing discriminatory laws to stay in place and we are going to challenge that through the court system.”

The campaign will argue the current voting age of 18 was “unjustified age discrimination” and that the High Court should declare it inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act.

But if it is ‘unjustified age discrimination’, where do you draw the line? Why is 16 the magic age? What does that mean for 15-year-olds? Why don’t we just drop it to the age of 5 and be done with it?

The Friday evening launch will be the start of a “nationwide campaign”, with supportive MPs, Wellington local body candidate Tamatha Paul, and Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft expected to speak.

If children are capable of making adult decisions such as who to vote for, then why do we need a Children’s Commissioner? Is it not an oxymoron to say that he acts to protect children, and then say they are capable of making decisions we only entrust to adults?

Becroft said lowering the voting age would enhance turnout, ingrain the habit of voting and uphold young people’s rights.


I wasn’t able to vote until the age of 18 and have never missed a general election since, so this will make no difference to people’s views of their civic duty. As for enhancing turnout, this may be true, but on the radio today, I heard a story about a high school that recently held a mock election to see how students would vote. Guess which party was the winner? No, it wasn’t the Greens. (I thought it might be too). It was the Legalise Marijuana Party. That tells you all you need to know about how responsible children are.

That is because they are children. We all know that 16-year-olds are still children. Their brains have not fully developed; they are still struggling with hormones coursing through their veins and they are simply too young to be given the responsibility of choosing a government.

I believe that children should be allowed to be children. They are adults for long enough. In the meantime, we only have to look at the world’s favourite child prodigy, Greta Thunberg, to know how badly this could go. Greta is a damaged child. She should not be anyone’s hero; she should be getting help. Let us stop pretending children can save the world. They have never been able to do that, and they certainly can’t now.