20 October 2023  Submissions

Submission on the Electoral (Lowering Voting Age for Local Elections and Polls) Legislation Bill

Mana Mokopuna - Children and Young People's Commission advocates for the right of mokopuna under Article 12 of the Children’s Convention to have their views heard, considered and taken seriously in decision-making. Our submission endorsed lowering the voting age to 16 as we have heard from young people that this is important to them. We acknowledged and commended the work of the youth-led campaign—Make It 16—who have worked incredibly hard to uplift youth voices and advocate for government action to lower the voting age.

Our submission emphasised that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recommendation that “the State party should take measures to ensure that if the voting age is lowered, this is supported by active citizenship, human rights education, and other measures including to prevent undue influence.”

It was important for us to highlight that lowering the voting age will also support equitable outcomes for mokopuna Māori specifically, as the Māori population is on average much younger than other non-Māori population groups and Pacific mokopuna who are youngest population in Aotearoa with a median age of 23 years old.