Make it 16

Campaign to lower the voting age in Aotearoa

The ‘Make it 16’ campaign was formed in 2019 by a group of young people inspired by other youth leading the school strikes for climate. Next followed 3 years of full hearted dedication, sustained presence and action, including taking their cause to court twice.

In November last year all that hard work resulted in a big win in the Supreme Court which ruled that preventing 16 and 17 year olds from voting is unjustified age discrimination and in breach of the Bill of Rights Act.🔥🔥🔥

Government has announced they will introduce a Bill to lower the voting age to 16. A change to the voting age for general elections, however, requires a 75% majority vote. 

That is why the campaign focus now is on getting the rules changed to be able to vote in local elections first, as getting this change through only needs a simple majority of over half of MPs to agree. It would therefore provide a sound test case for lowering the voting age on a national level down the line.

We take heart in seeing Wellington mayor Tory Whānau and her council throwing their support behind this as well as Porirua Council, Kāpiti Coast District Council and Far North District mayor Moko Tepania.

a group of happy looking young people laugh at the camera and make gestures of support

Internationally we are seeing similar shifts to including younger people in elections.

The voting age is already 16 in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Malta, Nicaragua, Scotland and Wales, and the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

In Germany the Green Party has been campaigning to lower the voting age to 16 for the next European election in 2024 – and the Bundestag (the federal government) has decided to adopt this change.😍

Recent polling here shows many people in Aotearoa are not yet on board with lowering the voting to 16. If you happen to be one of those people who at the same time values fairness and equal opportunity, we’d love for you to consider the following point from the head of politics at Cambridge University Prof David Runciman:

“Ageing populations mean young people are now massively outnumbered, creating a democratic crisis and an inbuilt bias against governments that plan for the future.😱😱😱

Or maybe like many of us you prefer a meme to challenge your thinking ⤵⤵⤵

A meme with the text: "Young people don't need to vote, they can wait their turn" – Millennia-defining existential threats to humanity that need to be addressed now: Bonjour. An image of an ice bear's head looking out of an ice cave.

If on the other hand, you are already firmly convinced we would have a stronger democracy if we allowed more young people to have a say on how we run things now and into the future, ka rawe!

Actions you can take are:

And everyone should watch this great 20 minute documentary on Make it 16 by the Spinoff:


Can you tell we’re impressed with the Make it 16 rangatahi’ campaigning skills 🥳🥳🥳

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