Conflict arose in the justice committee after the Green party proposed that the voting age be lowered to 16 years old. There has been continuous debate about whether the voting age should be lowered or kept at 18, and the Green party believes that keeping the voting age at 18 years old leaves out significant members of our community-- that being our 16 and 17 year old community members. The Labour party claimed that preventing 16 and 17 years old from voting is undemocratic as they already get taxed when working.
The National party indicated that keeping the age at 18 years old “works as it is.” Deputy leader of the National party called the motion of Green party and Labour party a political move, articulating that “lowering the voting age will ruin democracy.” The debate continued with a member of the National party claiming that lowering the voting age is a “blatant attempt to buy more votes” and “youth are hoodwinked by labour to vote for their party.”
The Labour party said that 16 years olds are more likely to mimic their parents’ voting choice implying that this could advantage the National Party. Followed by several questions, the National party, together with the Act party, managed to gain an upper hand during the voting session resulting in the amendment failing. The Green and Labour party lost their amendment, with Te Pāti Māori abstaining from voting.