27 Sep 2019

Green Party backs lowering voting age to 16

3:00 pm on 27 September 2019

The Green Party says lowering the voting age to 16 is now a priority, and the global climate strike movement by school kids has helped spark the move.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

The party has added voting at 16 to their priorities for electoral reform listed in Golriz Ghahraman's Strengthening Democracy Bill.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said young people believe politicians should act boldly to combat climate change, and they deserve the opportunity to vote for that.

"Everyone has a right to protect their future, especially young people and children today. Every decision that elected representatives are making especially concerns their future and the systems that they are going to have to live with," she said.

"I am really inspired by their voice and by their movement and want to support them to have a say."

Ms Davidson said Ms Ghahraman had been in discussions with Justice Minister Andrew Little as well as across Parliament, hoping to get support for the change.

"Golriz has been working and having these conversations, this is her member's bill and she is the spokesperson fro electoral reform. We've been supporting her as a caucus to make these changes and make these moves and we'll continue to talk."

Ms Davidson was not sure about other parties' levels of support for such a move, but did not expect it would be insitituted by the time the next election rolls around in 2020.

She said lowering the voting age had long been an aspect of the Green Party's policies, but was not sure if it would be included in its priorities heading into the election or whether they would be in a position to negotiate it afterwards.

"We'll have to wait until after the election to see what we put on the table, that will be up to the voters to decide, but it's certainly something that we're really pleased to be talking about and getting this conversation started."

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