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Dr Muriel Newman

Local Democracy 2019

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Local body elections have been and gone. Over 2,000 candidates stood for councils and community board positions on 67 local authorities up and down the country.

I’ll do my best. But I can’t promise anything” was a billboard message that gave Tauranga locals a chuckle, as a sleepy-looking Mark Sheaff – who wasn’t a candidate – made his point!

Frank, the bulldog, who featured on billboards in Lower Hutt was clearly hoping to impress with his smile! He is said to have persuaded at least one voter to add him to her voting paper!

There were candidates who filled in the wrong form and entered the wrong race. Others filled in nomination forms then wanted to withdraw, but missed the deadline. Some used biodegradable billboards that fell apart in the rain. And there were the all-important voting booklets, that had candidates’ 150 carefully chosen words – next to the wrong photos!

Some candidates felt compelled to use the opportunity to highlight their serious concerns by standing on a principle with little expectation of success.

One of those was Michael Coote, who stood for the Auckland Mayoralty. He wanted to give Aucklanders, concerned about the rise in race-based privilege, the option of lodging a protest vote for racial equality. His campaign statement in the voting booklet  said:

“Multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Auckland City must be a society of strict racial equality for all. Auckland Council must respect this fundamental principle of modern liberal democratic civilisation. There is no justice in Auckland Council granting, enabling or facilitating special rights and privileges, or providing separatist treatment, for any part of Auckland’s diverse community on the basis of racial or ethnic affiliation. For example, Auckland Council’s plans, policies, procedures and structures should not discriminate in favour of Maori members of the community over any others, but should apply equal status, validity and opportunity to all Aucklanders as residents and ratepayers. Any aspect of Auckland Council which does not conform with racial egalitarianism should be abolished, as too should be entities such as the Independent Maori Statutory Board, which places voting members on Auckland Council committees who are unelected by the general public. If you agree, please vote for Michael Coote.” 

And 5,530 people did agree, voting Michael 7th out of the 21 candidates in the Mayoralty race. While he is not able to personally promote this cause from within Council, one hopes that his stand will encourage those who have been elected to speak up for racial equality.

And it’s not just in Auckland where councillors need to take a stand, but all around the country.

Especially, it seems in Otago, as this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator former Regional Councillor and MP Gerry Eckhoff explains:  

“Just prior to the Local Government election, the  Otago Regional Council voted to appoint two representatives of Ngai Tahu with full voting rights onto the Policy Committee, which deals with the allocation of fresh water. This decision – in the final days of the ORC’s train wreck tenure – was as wrong as it was predictable. It is an affront to representative democracy as we expect it to function.

“The question as to why we the people were never consulted over this appointment is obvious. Reserving seats for Ngai Tahu to the full council would  have opened up the council up to a petition to hold a referendum of the people of Otago – which could easily have been included in the Local Government election process.”

The question for the new council is whether they will revoke the anti-democratic decision made by their predecessors that unelected and unaccountable iwi would sit at the council table with the same voting rights as elected councillors. While elected representatives swear an oath requiring them to act “in the best interests of this region”, the allegiance of appointed Ngai Tahu representatives is solely to their Iwi.

With the committee they joined being responsible for the allocation of freshwater in the region, and with Ngai Tahu Corporation operating many businesses that rely on freshwater, their conflict of interest is plain to see.

When the matter was debated by the former council, Councillor Michael Laws opposed the appointments saying they were “racist” and “undemocratic”. He was concerned the appointees would focus solely on benefits for Ngai Tahu, rather than the best interest of the Otago region.

Now that Cr Laws has been re-elected, he should be encourage to table a motion to revoke the previous council’s decision on the basis that it was undemocratic and that the people of the region were not consulted.

In his article, Gerry expresses concern that council Codes of Conduct are being used to silence councillors who want to speak out.

This point is also made by former councillor Frank Newman, who believes it is one of the reasons local politicians don’t engage with voters in a more meaningful way: “The problem here is councillors become intimidated into silence, not only by a hateful minority, but also by their own council’s Code of Conduct. All councils are required to adopt a Code of Conduct setting out how elected members should behave. In practice it becomes a weapon used by councillors to muzzle other dissenting councillors. Dissention in politics is nothing to be feared; it is a sign of a healthy democracy.”

All in all, the 2019 election results delivered a mixed bag of expected and unexpected results – including 26 new mayors, the largest number in 30 years.

In our biggest city, while incumbent Phil Goff romped home as Mayor of Auckland with double the number of votes of his nearest rival, “an embittered and tearful John Tamihere put his significant loss down to his ethnicity”, saying, “the commentariat hates a brown boy’s guts”, and, “the fact of the matter is that a West Auckland, working class, mixed ethnicity Maori was never going to make it” – comments which are, of course, ridiculous. 

Lianne Dalzeill easily won in Christchurch, but in a major upset in Wellington, the Labour-leaning Mayor, who was trying to turn the city into the te reo capital of New Zealand, was defeated by long-time councillor Andy Foster, who had the backing of Sir Peter Jackson.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt was re-elected for his 9th term to become New Zealand’s longest-serving mayor. Aaron Hawkins, a 35 years old vegetarian who cannot drive and often hitch-hikes to work was elected Mayor of Dunedin on a Green Party ticket, and 28-year-old Campbell Barry won the Hutt City mayoralty from Ray Wallace to become the country’s youngest ever mayor.

As far as councillors are concerned, Sophie Handford, the 18-year-old national co-ordinator for the School Strike for Climate movement, was elected onto the Kapiti District Council, making her among the youngest ever voted into local government in New Zealand.

Three 19 year-olds were also elected – Fisher Wang to the Rotorua Lakes Council, Rohan O’Neill-Stevens to the Nelson Council, and at 9 am on the day that nominations closed, Tauranga barber Stacey Rose threw his hat into the ring of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, and by 2 pm was elected unopposed!

In the run up to the election, there were grave concerns about poor voter turnout. Kiwis were berated about our cavalier attitude to local democracy.

But the dire predictions did not eventuate. At 44.4 percent, this year’s voter turnout is higher than 42 percent in 2016 and 41.3 percent in 2013.

The Waikato District Council had the lowest turnout in the country at 34 percent, up from 30.6 percent in 2016 , while the highest were the Chatham Islands on 68.9 percent, Westland District Council on 63.9 percent and Grey District Council on 63.1 percent.

A great deal was also written about gender balance on councils.

According to the provisional figures, it looks like the number of women elected will be close to 40 percent, up from 38 percent in 2016, and 30 percent in 2010.

In 2016, three councils in the country had a majority of women councillors, and another four councils were evenly split. This year it looks like 5 councils will have a majority of women and 10 will have equal numbers of male and female councillors. The results show that change is indeed taking place, and that intervention by the Green Party’s Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, who is pushing for gender equality, is not needed – especially when the ‘best person for the job’ should drive voting decisions, not politically correct quotas.

But the Minister is not just pushing for more women – she wants ‘true diversity’: “It’s not just women, we need all types of diversity… I would like to see more diversity of age, diversity of ethnicity and background… people who are differently able.”

Indeed, lobbyists continue to claim that local democracy is failing to deliver fair representation for minority groups, but the reality is that the local government oath of office demands those elected to work in the best interests of their whole community – not vested interest groups.

In the run up to the election, the need for young people’s concerns to be represented at the council table led to a renewed call to lower the voting age to 16.

The “Make it 16” campaign was launched in Parliament last month. One of their main gripes was expressed by 17 year-old Pierson Palmer, who said they were “getting tired of listening to adults being very condescending, knowing that we actually, in the long run, have no say, and in the end, our points of view are being trivialised by politicians and by people older than us just because of our age”.

This Green Party backed group intends using a High Court challenge to try to get the voting age lowered: “Politicians … are allowing discriminatory laws to stay in place and we are going to challenge that through the court system. The campaign will argue the current voting age of 18 was ‘unjustified age discrimination’ and that the High Court should declare it inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act.”

Astonishingly, the campaign has the support of the Children’s Commissioner. Quite why this so-called non-partisan Government appointee believes it’s a good idea to back a Green Party political campaign is not clear.

It’s also not clear who will pick up the tab for their proposed High Court action. In the interests of transparency, Make it 16 should reveal their backers.

The main concern about the voting age relates to whether or not 16 and 17 year-old have the maturity to discern truth from propaganda, and to understand the complexities of the issues that are at stake. This is not a trivial matter – it is difficult enough for adults to make those judgements these days, let alone children.

Having recently witnessed the manic groupthink of young people – led by Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg – as they protest over climate change, there is little to suggest they have the wisdom to vote on matters of national significance. We don’t even trust them to drink alcohol responsibly!  

The reality is that 16 year olds are highly susceptible to political indoctrination, which is no doubt exactly why the Greens would like them to be able to vote.

There is no doubt that New Zealand voters should be more engaged in local body politics, since the services they deliver are vital to our wellbeing, and the amount we pay in council levies and fees is considerable. Not only that, but low voter turnouts leave councils vulnerable to takeover by well-organised special interest groups – and that’s not in a community’s best interest.

So, as we look ahead to the next three years, good luck to all of the newly elected councillors – we hope you will be able to reach out to your community to make local politics more interesting and relevant. And to all those who stood for election and didn’t make it, well done for giving it a go – and don’t forget, if you plan to try again at the next election, your campaign should be starting now!


Do you believe the voting age should be reduced to 16?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


Grief! Paddy
Greta’s aggressive tirade is an example of why not drop voting to 16 yr olds. Many are still at school at that age w little worldly experience and maturity to make decisions having yet to experience them . Carol
16 year olds need to allow their fontal lobes to develop so they can make well evaluated decisions. Remember that story – how the 17 year old was appalled at how little the old man knew, and when he turned 22, he was surprised how the old man had learned in 5 years. Murray
Childish idea Russ
This is a just a scheme by the Green party to gain votes from impressionable teenagers. JD
While it would garner a few votes it would also promote the idea of lowering the drinking age . This happened with lowering the voting age to 18. This is shown to be too low; but no politician wants to raise it again. Lowering the voting age without lowering the drinking age would possibly promote more interest in politics at a lower age. Peter
Stupid idea. Many NZ adults have next to no idea what is going on in politics, 16 and 17 year-olds tend to know even less and comprehend almost nothing. Gary
no bloody brains Eric
Definitely Not as their brains are not mature enough to analyse adult manipulation – such as the Climate Emergency Fraud. They are also under the influence of Teachers at school who have become socialist. Frederick
At that age the kids don’t know what the time of day is Martin
Many of us recall waiting till we reached 21 to vote. Now that the age of adulthood is now usually recognised as 18, it doesn’t make sense to look to lower this again even if the age of consent is 16 Chris
Anyone over 40 knows 16 year olds are not as grown up as they believe they are. Plus we need time to address how our youth are being deceived. Darag
then they will want 15 and so on barry
I would have voted yes before the climate school strike but not now. I did not realise how easy it would be for the green communists to manipulate young minds. I hope that the school climate strikers all got detention. K
At aged 16, young people do not have the ability to make objective decisions about matters they have had little or no knowledge of. Noel
The majority of 16 year olds are not interested enough to appreciate the ramifications or consequences of their actions. Robert
Still children and not enough of lifes experience to have much idea of what they are voting for. Colin
A 16 year old is still a child.Those who promote this proposal should be named and shamed. bruce
I hope Michael Coote stands for the Auckland mayoralty next time with his truthful campaign statement. I cannot vote for him but I do agree with all the material he writes for nzcpr. and people will probably be ready to vote for his kind of candidacy next time.. Also loved his comment he made after last general election that minor parties like NZF and Greens will disappear at the next year’s one.. It is imperative that we rid ourselves of the dangerous Green party with their socialist agenda and economic vandalism. Monica
Of course not. If anything it should be raised. Justin
At 16 you have no life experience whatsoever and judging by the behaviours of older teens and even those in their early 20’s the voting age should be increased to about 30 or so —tongue in cheek. (Then again look at that deluded Greta Thunberg — theres a reason for INCREASING the voting age.) Alan
Absolutely NOT! Seeing how the young are being brain-washed by the Climate Change hysteria would indicate this is not a good idea. No wonder the Greens want it! Sylvia
It dropped from 21 to 18. That was too young. What next six year olds? Murray
Voting at 16? Ah, no. The corrupt lefties want earlier access to the indoctrinated youngsters. Look at the way they have been brainwashed into believing that man is responsible for climate change, and not knowing what the motives behind the corruption are. When I explained it to my granddaughter, she went “oh” as the light clicked on. Problem for her is that if she speaks to truth to her peers she will be derided. Very sad. Neil
Maturity is a fundamental requirement in any debating chamber. Rick
I remember TV explaining this was a rouse to increase the Maori voting percentage, there being an increase in the percentage of eligibility of Maori to others in this age group which will help to increase the number of Maori seats. George
It is a good time for as reality check. Just reflect on the problems we now have with under-age drinking, the number of young people causing and involved in road accidents, the number of young people , in stolen cars, being chased by police I say the age should be put back to where it was, ie. 21 for people to drive, drink .and Vote. Frank
Given the ideological driven education system they have been indoctrinated with the lowering of the voting age would be idiotic, aka the latest juvenile climate protest. It’s patently obvious they cannot discern truth from ideological looney left driven fiction. Carolyn
Insufficiently mature in their ability to sort out facts from propaganda. Steve
This is just so the Greens can stay in Govt sucking on the public tit, by getting votes from well meaning but hopelessly naive teenagers. Mike
most youngsters have no clue. gerard
Too immature and not ratepayers. Mark
Still far too immature at 16ys .To easily manipulated and brain washed. Wendy
No No No Valerie
Forget about the low numbers voting .nationally we are not missing anything. Those that don’t vote don’t keep up with social issues and would not know who to vote for anyway . As such ,their vote would not reflect an opinion of any value .16 year olds would simply add to the low vote Anthony
Absolutely ridiculous Ken
I am dismayed at how little some adults seem to know about the world around them. Giving children the vote can only make the situation much worse. Frank
If you can vote at 16, then I guess you can stand for parliament? Wow! How cool and progressive would a 16 year old prime minister be?! Oh hang on!, … we already have one; emotionally. charles
Even 18 year olds do not vote, its to difficult Warren
Immature brains easily influenced by one issue. Cant see the big picture. Richard
Many of that age are not ready to do “ADULT’ matters and will often do what their same age friends think. Marilyn
get real ! Stewart
They are not [in most cases] mature enough or properly informed and are easily led by ‘agenda Politicians, in this case the Green Party again.Would like to know who is backing this! A definite know, where will it end or do we lower it again to ‘mature’ 14 year olds!Don’t think so!! Steve
definitely not Robert
Immaturity does not lead to sound and well thought out decision making. Nev
They don’t have the maturity, knowledge or experience and who they vote for will most likely determined by the words of their teachers. It would mean that nobody but the Greens or Labour would ever get into power again. Raise the voting age to 20. Roger
With the Government passing legislation that Universities need to do more in the pastoral care of what are, for the most part 18 year old people…..Making universities CULPABLE in the event a student makes a wrong decision…. I would suggest the voting age be raised, along with the Alcohol age, to 20 years. The old plum about serving in the military is BUNKUM. In the military you are under 24/7 control …your every action dictated. Lionel
Heard a few Kiwi Jokes recently. Sounds as if here is another one. Especially the Childrens Commissioner, I want some of what he is on with his joke of the year. Yes calling for votes from mostly 16 year old infantiles. Tony
No,no,no.This would be stupidity at its best. Peter
can;t put an old head on young shoulders John
Too inclined not to look at the full picture whilst toeing the environmental line Rayna
A sixteen year old kid knows very little at age because they have no real life experience at that age, they never run a household or work employment experience plus their brain is no quite wired up right at that age. Don
Daily youth demonstrates its susceptibility to the smoke and mirrors of debate on serious issues. They need to be heard. We need to push back on any strain of thought that they are ready to understand fully let alone dictate on the difficult and complex issues of the day. Using them to manipulate policy for political or commercial gain should be called out as abhorrent and resisted. Stewart
on one hand we are told by some that our youth is not mature enough or capable of discerning the difference between right and wrong and therefore need to be dealt with in a childrens court rather than an adults court and now we are being told that they have the smarts to be able to vote. Make up your minds; you can’t have it both ways. Different agenda’s I suppose. Looks like the Greens increasing and future proofing their voter numbers. God or someone help us. Gary
Absolutely not, a 16 year old has not had the life experience nor has the life skills needed in order to make reasoned logical sound decisions. As proven by the climate strikes indoctrination is something that is easily achieved on the youth. I personally fell that the voting age should be raised to 21 because at least then some life skills and reasoned thinking and questioning of stated facts made by Politicians should have been learnt, Allan
Unbelievable! What idiots come up with these hair brained ideas? Chris
Evan at 21 I doubt if most young people have had enough experience of life to be able to have a balanced viewpoint to vote fairly. Eric
No, few 16-year-olds have the maturity or life-experience yet; and, further, they are certainly not yet paying for the things they might demand. When you are putting your money where your mouth is would be a more responsible time to get a vote on how that money is spent. Rob
Emphatically NO Too easily swayed by ideology Kevin
Too young they are still at school and they have fixed ideas without experiencing life there is two sides to all stories and you need to see both sides before deciding which one you agree with Cherryl
Raise it to 30 Huria
never paul
A lot of 16 year olds think about things but most do not have the ability to manage the thinking in to making good sense. It is called Maturity and even adults get it wrong at times. Learn to manage emotions and then manage Politics Laurel
Lack of real life experience David
Absolutely NOT. They are children and naive and, to be effective and responsible, civic leaders should be experienced and wise. Gordon
Local govt elections make little difference to anything while the CEO has full operational decision making power given by the LGA. Very few 16 year olds fund government at any level and probably none are ratepayers. central Govt moved costs to ratepayers because voter turnout is so low at the local level Ian
No – at 16, their frontal cortex is not fully developed – therefore they cannot determine consequences and are incapable of making mature decisions. This would leave them wide open to exploitation, which is why this proposal is being driven by parties such as the Greens purely as a vote gathering ploy. Scott
It should be at least 21 years old. What twit would give governance of our society over to minors with no life skills or experience? They’re just babies!!! Simon
I wouldn’t allow my own children to vote at 16 so why should I allow everyone else’s Steve
No way Philip
Never, Never, Never. Stats show 18 to 23 year olds are the group least likely to exercise their democratic process at present. Roger
Absolutely not! I have grandchildren over 20 who simply don’t care. It is all about THEM. Hopefully they wouldn’t vote anyway. Dick
They have been indoctrinating children into the Global Governance, Climate change ideology for years. Now they want to speed up the take over by using the influence of children before they mature to the error of their teachings. Bruce C
Young people are too easily swayed by the b==s==put out by some parties Arthur
The 15 and 16 year olds I know haven’t the brains they were born with; it’s ‘all about me’…and it’s ‘always the fault of the oldies’…..Really? Plus I absolutely do NOT like being told umpteen times that ‘you’re OLD! when are you going to die?’….Your turn is coming children – and God help you when YOU are on the receiving end of the 15 and 16 year olds in YOUR era… 🙂 Naine
There are two in the Green Party who are still wet behind the ears. One refers to our older males as being “pale, stale and male”. Another has an article in a mag about her and she is wearing a t-shirt with the words “persist, resist, and insist” printed on it. That speaks volumes. I say NO! Kevan
Absolutely not. Barbara
I do not believe that they are sufficiently developed to responsibly discern fact and reality from “promotion” at that age. Laurie
Absolutely no. It is obvious why the Greens want it so they can get them young. With the indoctrination carried out in schools today, they will feel they can carry it on in the real world – till it all implodes. Graeme
Children have no experience on which to base voting. It is too simple for indoctrination to control their opinions and so sway them towards the ideology of a rogue government. Bryan
They are kids,. Who picked this arbitrary age as the time when children are supposedly capable of making adult choices? Maybe we should go all the way and give the vote to 5 year olds!!! Get a grip! Roy
Indoctrinated children are more likely to vote green and perpetuate the socialist climate change agenda John
Definitely not. Whether they think so or not, the majority of 16yr olds are still immature and easily influenced. This will be why the Green’s want the voting age lowered. It will be a dangerous move. George
They don’t necessarily know what they want or need until they have left school (mind you, at that age – 16 – some have already quit school) let alone have an awareness of the economic facts of life … NO NO NO Maybelle
Can you imagine the level of sense promoted by a Scandinavian 16 y.o. that claimed her childhood was stolen by climate change actually being allowed to cast a vote? What a mess if that could convince other children the sky was falling! Nick
Definitely NOT, unless they pay rates!! Bruce
The greens want the vote lowered to 16 because those youngsters have been indoctrinated to the what the greens are promoting like sea levels rising, pollution damage, save nature, get rid of farming, The only thing wrong with the green party is that it exists. Johan
You can’t have it both ways – if a person’s brain is not fully mature until they are in their mid twenties, how can a person possibly be mature enough to vote at 16? Paloma
16 is too immature. June
No Life experience Helen
The 17 year old who is complaining today will soon be the the group she is crticising Malcolm
Many 18 year olds haven’t had the life experiences to understand the real issues facing this country. Hence giving the vote to 16 year olds would be a disaster. Kaye
This demographic simply has not had the life experiences nor the cognitive maturity necessary to make informed decisions. Manipulation by teachers or political extremists would be in the long term a disaster for NZ. Lee
Unequivocally NO Victor
I have grandchildren that are 16 years of age and have yet to decide what subjects they should take next year at college and for now what should I wear out today and I must take my smartphone so I can txt my friends. If you look at those protesting climate change and their age 16 is far too young for them to make rational decisions as at the age emotions take over. Ken
Utter stupidity if the voting age be reduced Chris
majority of 16 s not mature enough to understand john
No, too susceptible to indoctrination. Sam
I think Greta Thunberg made the case admirably with out needing to add to it. Richard
Those advocating it need their heads read. dene
Young people are too easily influenced by teachers or parents etc etc. They will get their turn when the understand fully the possible results of their decisions Gary
Lack life experience Kate
definitely not////////// John
No way!! Russell
Lack of Maturity David
Most 16 year old have more brains than 90% of our politicians how ever that does not give 16 year olds the life experience to be qualified to vote bill
There are already fat too many persons able to vote without any real life experience that allows them to make a valid decision Michael
Not emotionally developed Jeff
Absolutely not. I would hate to think that some of the 16 to 18 aged people out there would be making decisions on my behalf. Brian
They don’t know enough of our history to be voting. Ian ian
For those that think 16 is OK, why not go down to 10 years of age!!!!. Warwick
18 is young enough, even then they haven’t got a lot of experience to contribute to serious debate and decisions. Clinton
Children of that age tend to be immature and susceptible to manipulation by sector interest groups. Graham
NO, it should be raised to 20 or 21. Sixteen year olds are not mature or experienced enough to know truth from fiction, nor to think through possible repercussions from their actions. Of course, neither are a lot of adults, but older is still better. Joyce
Let them deal with teenage stuff without the pressure of politics Bev
While there are some exceptions, MOST 16 year olds simply have no understanding of responsible voting. They would be too easily influenced by parents and especially left wing teachers. They can’t buy alcohol at 16, why be allowed to vote for empty political promises. Geoff
No too young. Clark
Teenagers can’t make formal or constructive decisions now about their future or others Ian
By now they have all been have been corrupted by the Thunberg phenomenon. and would have no idea about general politics John
it should be raised to 30 Geoff
If adults are too lazy to vote, don’t expect teenagers to make any difference. Mark
At 18 youngsters have more knowledge and ability to consider the issues proposed for voting than those at a younger age. The voting age must remain as now. Brian
Going by YOUNG PEOPLES actions they are VUNERABLE to groups who will mislead their thinking & think by doing whats suggested is COOL & make them FIT IN EASIER.They know nothing about whats needed(hospitals,roads ETC) they will ONLY know & be EASILY INFLUENCED about things that WONT help the economy ETC. Cindy
To vote knowingly one needs some life experience, I believe 25 would be a better starting age. Russell
It should be be raised to 40.. Brooke
In fact, if scientific knowledge of brain development were taken into account, it should be raised to 25. Gail
Absolutely not! These days youngsters are slower maturing than ever! Many of them are still living at home at 35 and so many of them do not engage in reading the news or listening to the news or being able objectively analyse information of any description. The fault lies with time poor parents who almost never sit down with their kids to have a meaningful conversation (that used to happen around the dinner table), the education system (which does not require analysis and comprehension of written material), vocabulary (which equips people with the ability to communicate effectively). So how in the blazes are they going to make head nor tail of politics, either national or local? If I had any say in the matter, I’d lift the voting age to 21 along with every other thing that requires a minimum age, except the pension of course, and I think that had better stay in the 60’s somewhere. 🙂 Dianna
Not doubting their intelligence, but worldly experience must be a factor. Kabe
C’mon Graeme
At 16 Children should still be at school and be focused on their education. Margaret
Far too young to make momentous decisions Margeret
Lack of maturity. At 16 you think you know everything and life proves you don’t. Marie
Irrespective of the access to modern media the average 16 year old is far too immature to be voting in National or Regional elections. Individual councils could encourage a Juvenile Advisory Committee and votes might be independently taken for representation on that committee so that Elected Councillors might have first hand advice on the Juvenile perspective but Even the age group under 21 has suspect maturity and recent history shows most of that age will put an emphasis on self interest over community interest making the group susceptible to pork barrel politics. Richard
They need years to form personal rather than GROUP think Doug
The human brain doesn’t mature till age 25 years.. The country doesn’t need immature children voting on issues that many would not be mature enough to comprehend. Isabel
A definite BIG NO Don
A ridiculous idea encouraged by the well-meaning. Barbara
A Sixteen year old have not long been out of nappies and has NO life or work experiences. They are also too susceptible to propaganda told to them by unscrupulous leftist parties. Wayne
They will be too lazy to get out of bed to vote so it doesn’t really matter . They will want to be chauffeur driven to the polls and paid for their time . Jock
I just don’t think they have the maturity to be put in that place, most of them are not working or contributing to the society we live in paying tax’s and bills etc, the greens want there vote, they are easier to brain wash, they just haven’t lived much of life yet, most 16 year olds I meet don’t really give a toss. Rodger
Maturity is needed before decisions affecting many lives and businesses is given. Dennis
labourites Chris
Immature voters are hardly likely to be useful. Their time will come. Laurie
Absolutely not. In fact I personally feel it should be raised to at least 20. Young people don’t have worldly experience at 18 and especially 16 and are too easily influenced by activists. Voters should have worked in the real world before they can vote so perhaps even 20 is too young. Helen
Most worth the opportunity Jim
Ridiculous politically driven suggestion. Lawrie
Absolutely not. The Green party wants this so they can brainwash them at school so they will become green voters and watch the green vote soar so they have more influence in the country’s politics over what they have now This is already far too much. Colin
I think that they lack the maturity to make meaningful voting decisions! Cyril
No way should the voting age be lowered. Most people at 16 years of age are too young and immature and would vote for anything financially that gives them immediate benefit without looking into the long term consequences to the economy. Frank
They (under 16) are too driven by social media. This of what could/would happen. Carl
Not until they can contribute to the costings associated with voting responsibility. mike
Too young and after the cost of putting it in place 90% of them won’t vote anyway. Then those that do vote will spread their votes all over the place and it will have no impact. So a waste of time and money. Andrew
18 year olds are probably too stupid to vote as well……… Dave
Dear God NO!! Seriously, so little life experience… there are many reasons why they should NOT. Maddi
If the current voting age of 18 is unjustified age discrimination, is not 16 also? Bob
Raise it to 21. Frank
16 yr olds need to concentrate on their future prospects and learning about how our country is run. I don’t believe they are mature enough to know what and who they are voting and some I would imagine just vote like their Parents rather than their own thoughts. Barbara
I love young adults and teenagers.But just as we’ve found that skipping school to protest environment issues(oh just as kids did in the 60s).It takes a fully educated, rounded, educated person to come up with rounded solutions. JC
At that age they do not have the maturity to separate the rubbish from the reality. Ian
The voting age is already TOO low. Immature children do not have the worldly experience necessary to make credible decisions. Our education system does not teach children to think and analyse, only taught WHAT to think. Bob
For the very reason that , at sixteen they can be easily manipulated by devious Political Parties with destructive agendas. Geoff
The vast majority of 16 year old’s are not mature enough to vote Tom
21 should be the voting age Mike
At 16 the youngsters are still growing and have not got yet the political nous to understand the complexities of life. Jon
Just a move by the greens to get more votes as they know that teens are more likely to be tricked into voting for them. Willy
Considering our brain isn’t really fully developed until about 23-24 if anything the age should go up, not down! Ted
Absolutely not! An idea driven by an ideological socialist government desperate to stay in power. Adele
Most definitely NO! Facetiously and with a note of seriousness, no vote until one knows the value of an EARNED dollar. Don
As mentioned by Muriel they cannot be well enough informed or mature enough to work in such an environment, especially with the amount of power seekers and career opportunists being there to manipulate their young minds. Bruce
Reducing the voting age to 16 is a silly idea. Imagine the propaganda disseminated in the classroom by radical teachers who want to push their various agendas. Peter
Having taught 16 year old students I consider this proposal to be simply ridiculous! Roger
teenagers tend to make bad decisions. Eric
And if this gets through to become law, I guess that they will need to have the drinking age reduced to 16 and of course the justice system will need to change laws as to who is classified as adult or will the young voters still be considered as children by the courts. Why 16, why not go the full hog and make it 10, or 12 Stupid idea. Barry
Voters need to be people with some life experience! Hugh
too young Donal
Children do not usually have the life experience to discern the difference between ideologies and realistic goals. Jenifer
Absolutely not, let them grow up and see for them selves how stupid some of these people are who put forward these ideas. Bill
Definitely not. Peter
NO !! This would be the final straw to break the camel’s back. No wonder why the Greens want to force this lowering of the voting age into law. Looking at all this PC orientated indoctrination in schools : this has created a massive pool of easily influenced youngsters whose major ability seems to be pressing little buttons and are totally devoid of any decent education. The Green Socialists are totalitarian in nature and have realized that if they control our kids from an early age on ( pre school– elementary school — college to university), they literally will have won the battle to embed their twisted ideology into the very fabric of society. We see tell tale signs all over the place and this will not end well. In my own rural town it has become too obvious where the journey is going .I. e :the youngest Council member ( was voted in at the age of 21) is pushing for having all our street names changed for Maori street signs. And she is not even a Maori. In the local elections she was a miniature version of our Princess Part time PM and all about ‘well being’ and that sort of unsubstantiated crap- and this stupid kid got promptly re elected. But amazingly enough— local voters participation stood at about 56 % or so. I voted for the guys who for starters did not blubber around in stilted Maori in their opening sentences of their introduction and who did not mention ‘climate change’. And we have now some of these guys in the council. Hopefully that does something good. But unfortunately we now have a real dork as the new major. We see how that pans out— Michael
It would make more sense to go back to 21. Howard
16 year olds are still not worldly wise. I started work at age 15, and got married when I was 20., but I was 27 years old when my dad finally grew some brains. I am sure he despaired of me, many times over those years. Lloyd
Totally ridiculous. Most 16 year olds are still at school and highly influenced by views of teachers and mass propaganda. Heather
AS IF!!!!!!!! Helen
They get their vote later on Cath
Too young Mike
News stories every week demonstrate that a significant number of young people are unable to look after themselves let alone think for themselves. The “climate strike” showed they are unable to think for themselves. They certainly are unable to make a considered vote. Phil
. Should the age to vote be increased not lowered.Although many adult legal privileges start at the age of 18, brain research suggests that cognitive functions are still undergoing major reconstructions until the age of 25. Tillet
Wait till they can earn some money and contribute to the economy by paying some taxes and rates Andrew
My reason being – lowering the voting age to 16 years of age is being pushed for all the wrong reasons. And we all know what they are! Grahame
Why 16, why not 14, 12 or 10, all these whippersnappers are just replete with good advice and full of wisdom. How could it possibly go wrong?. Bart
Words fail me. I have worked alongside 16 year olds and in later years employed some. Often it took their workmates several years to turn them into thinking, functioning mature beings. No guidance at their homes and no interest or idea of the place of democracy at that age. They are just children and need far more time than ever before to discover the world does NOT owe them a living. to discover the world is round and discipline of mind. Bruce
no it should be raised to 21 when people are more mature Nigel
Even at 18 years of age , people without life experience / mileage , will and appear to make very poor uninformed decisions , which could detrimentally affect others ,.. well look at what has is happening with Jacinda’s crew… the damage done by them , is only equaled by the damage done by Clark . Roy
The best new employee or voter is a 16 year old – that’s an age when they KNOW EVERYTHING ! Stuart
Absolutely not! These kids need to grow up first, they think they know more than they actually do Hilary
Not while they are at school under the influence of radical teachers ???? David
Absolutely not. Robbie
We don’t call them snow flakes for no good reason. Gerald
Ridiculous even thinking that a 16 yea old has had any experience of the complexities of life. Graeme
I don’t know any one under the age of 18 that that has any knowledge or interest in the real world of democracy. Most youths have been brainwashed by the corrupt education system being indoctrinated with climate change BS & PC rubbish, half of them can’t spell let alone count, watch them get confused when you pay cash at the supermarket, with the smart till they are lost. To allow voting at 16 is just another left wing strategy to make sure they stay in power. I run a business where I have regular contact with parents & their teens & I am always engaging the teens & parents in affairs that I think are important (ie) climatechange,democracy,racism,freedom of speech & the outlook for the future,most of the replies to my questions are either a shrug of the shoulders or I don’t know. Allen
It would be absolute madness Alan
Most young people have no idea how to manage there own budgets so how could they possibly manage a major corporate like a council I would ump it up to 25 Peter
Definitely not 16 year olds, even 18 is young is young enough. It shows how immature some people are by even suggesting it. Peter
what next school children voting so ridiculous how many of them would vote probably a few with parents to express there views as the parents of the Swedish girl so sad to see children exploited by adults Russell
Sixteen years life experience is not enough to make a wise, informed decision. Chris
Should be raised to 20, some say the the brain is not fully matured to around 25 so maybe the age should be 25 Ron
However, I do believe the number of positions for local politics needs to be re-considered. It was extremely difficult to gauge a candidates real views when all we had in many instances was a sheet with some 150 words to go on. Even at local meetings candidates had just 3 or 5 minutes to demonstrate their suitability for Office. Peter
no way. frontal lobe not fully developed, no life skills Graeme
Just designed to get children to vote for socialists Cutty
OK as it is Kevin
The youth of today are more interested in partying and drugs than what councils want Colin
Absolutely NO never god forbid Jim
If anything, the voting age should be raised back to 21. Three years makes for far better awareness of reality and better understanding of all the relevant factors. Jim
Should be 21 Ranald
Even the age of 18 is too low. I am all for young blood but this is just manipulation to get people with their own agenda voted in. However with most local body elections achieving a less than 50% turn out we need some how to encourage worth while candidates to stand Frank
A large portion of 16 year olds have little idea of what they might do for a living and have not yet faced the responsibilities of providing for themselves. How do they have the understanding of life and society that should be a basic for a voter? Frank
Absolutely not. As a nation, we suffer hugely from ignorance and irrationality now. The world has more knowledge than ever before in history – accompanied by more ignorance & immaturity. This is a ploy by the illiberal alt-left to plunder principled values and reality. Idealism is worse than useless if it doesn%u2019t translate to realism. Jack
At 16 they are swayed by flavour of the month activism. Dave
Need to get some life experience understanding of politics a bit more than 16. George
What an appallingly outrageous proposal. To suggest that a CHILD 16 years of age can have gained sufficient knowledge, from the University of Life, to comprehend what is right for society. alan
You must be joking John
Most 16 yr olds can barely clean their room let alone understand the complexities and nuances of a modern democracy! DJ
That’s ridiculous Graeme
Absolutely not! This is just the Green Party trying to gerrymander the voting system. They know that with all of the indoctrination carried out in schools, most school children would vote Green. So they are using them to try to drive it through. They are despicable. Tony
Children are too young to understand enough to vote – end of story.  Andrew
No-one should vote who is not a tax payer. Mary
There’s a saying that goes something like if you are young and aren’t a socialist you have no heart, but if you are older and still a socialist, you have no brains. In other words, most children would vote for the most socialist party there is, and the Green Party knows that.  Jason
It is disgraceful that the Otago Council appointed Ngai Tahu representatives with voting rights just before the election. I hope the new council reverses the decision. Rob