Voting age of 18 is discriminatory, New Zealand’s top court rules
New Zealand’s highest court ruled on Monday that the country’s current voting age of 18 was discriminatory, forcing Parliament to discuss whether to lower it.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s highest court ruled on Monday that the country’s current voting age of 18 was discriminatory, forcing Parliament to discuss whether it should be lowered.
The case, which has been going through the courts since 2020, was bought by advocacy group Make It 16, which wants the age lowered to include 16- and 17-year-olds.
The Supreme Court found that the current voting age of 18 was inconsistent with the country’s Bill of Rights, which gives people a right to be free from age discrimination when they have reached 16.
The decision triggers a process in which the issue must come before Parliament for discussion and be reviewed by a parliamentary select committee. But it does not force Parliament to change the voting age.
“This is history,” said Make It 16 co-director Caeden Tipler, adding: “The government and Parliament cannot ignore such a clear legal and moral message. They must let us vote.”