Home World Ardern promises bill to lower voting age to 16 in New Zealand after discrimination ruling | New Zealand

Ardern promises bill to lower voting age to 16 in New Zealand after discrimination ruling | New Zealand

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern new zealand Government plans to draft bill to change voting age to 16 after landmark Supreme Court ruling that current 18-year-old is discriminatory and violates youth rights .

Ardern said he would personally support changing the age to 16, but would take the question to parliament. is our view,” she said Monday.

Her statement marks the end of Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in a two-year lawsuit filed by Make It 16, a group of young activists who argued that young people should be able to vote on issues such as the climate crisis. It was issued after It will disproportionately affect them and their future.

The ruling does not automatically guarantee that voting rights will be expanded, which only Congress can do, but it shows that Congress is now violating the basic human rights of young voters. This means that it is forcing lawmakers to consider changes.

“This is history,” said Caeden Tipler, co-director of the Make It 16 campaign. “Governments and Congress cannot ignore clear legal and moral messages like this. They must let us vote.”

Legislation, however, has a tough road ahead. New Zealand electoral law changes require 75% support in parliament, so the change would need support from both the Labor Party and the opposition National Party to become law. “In many other countries, the voting age is 18, and the People’s Party has not seen a convincing case for lowering the age,” the centre-right National Party said on Monday.

The ruling Labor Party has yet to announce its position on lowering the voting age. The Green Party and Maori parties have expressed their support, while the Akuto party is opposed.

Whether legislation will be a party vote or a vote of conscience has yet to be decided.

Launched shortly after school strikes for climate change, the Make It 16 campaign began to mobilize tens of thousands of teenagers across the country, with the climate crisis looming large behind them. “Three years ago we witnessed school strikes for climate change…and a global shift in how we give young people a voice and a way to make a difference at scale. Voting is one of those ideas,” said Sanat Singh, co-founder of Make it 16.

Climate action has been a driving force, but Singh says the same logic that young people should have a say in the issues that affect them applies to everything from funding public transport to mental health. applied to the politics of “I was 16 in 2020. This was probably one of the most important elections of our lifetime. was something that could not be said,” Singh said.

Brazil, Cuba, Austria, and Malta allow voting ages of 16 and older. In Scotland, 16-year-olds can vote in Scottish parliamentary elections, but not in the UK general election.But given the growing international campaign to lower the voting age in recent years and young people having to accept the consequences, many believe they should have a say in long-term democratic decisions. Professor David Runciman, eminent British scholar He argues that the voting age should be lowered to six.said the aging population means young people are now “hugely outnumbered”, creating a democratic crisis and a built-in bias against governments planning for the future.

New Zealand’s human rights law sets the age at which behavior can be discriminatory at 16, so the court noted that the decision only applies to people over the age of 16. should have a vote.

The Green Party’s spokesman for electoral reform, Gorliz Garaman, said in a statement on the verdict:

“Young people deserve a voice in decisions that affect both the present and the future.”

New Zealand recently updated its legislation to better respond to such court rulings. Under the new law, the Attorney General must formally notify the House that the law conflicts with the country’s Bill of Rights. Contradictions must be actively considered by legislators and the responsible ministers must respond.

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