The Herald editorial:
Members of the Make It 16 group have presented their views in recent weeks, plumping for a lowered voting age.
The for and against arguments are pretty well defined. People in their mid-teens are frustrated with a lack of representation in decisions that will affect their immediate futures.
It’s always a sign of bad things to come when an assertion is stated as a fact.
Has anyone ever polled mid-teens to ask them if they are frustrated they can’t vote until they’re 18? I suspect the vast majority of mid teens are not at all frustrated. They are focused on other things.
Just because a few activists say they are frustrated, doesn’t mean they represent all teens.
In the New Zealand context, Labour and the Greens have expressed interest in lowering the age. An election result along similar lines to current polling might put the issue on the next government’s table.
Their interest is in having them vote, as they tend to do better with younger voters.
There are an estimated 1.1 million people under the age of 18 in New Zealand, about a quarter of the population. Based on international experience, lack of overriding scientific evidence and in the face of falling voter turnout, the case for holding the line at 18 is flimsy.
Any line is arbitrary. 16 is arbitrary. So is 13 and 3/4. Or 18. Or 17. Unless you believe there should be no age limit at all, then the argument is what is the best age limit.
In a poll Curia did, only 8% of adult New Zealanders supported lowering the voting age to 16. 18 is the age at which you are generally regarded as an adult, and gain almost all your full rights.