Time to lower the voting age | The Jackal

22 Oct 2012

Time to lower the voting age

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

It is unfair to deprive young people of the right to have their say on laws that affect them simply because of the actions of a minority of delinquents - a minority that probably won't even bother vote even if they could, much like the million adult voters who didn't turn up last election.

In my opinion it's not because some young people are delinquents that they don't have the right to vote yet, that's just one of the excuses being used... It's because the current government is ageist! Clearly they don't want young people to have a say in how things are being run, which can only be described as outright discrimination against youth.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with Nationals stupid idea to reintroduce youth rates, whereby an older generation is proposing policy that openly discriminates against 16 to 19 year olds. Paying people $10.80 per hour effectively turns them into wage slaves, because the cost of living uses up all their remuneration and little to nothing is left to socialize with.

The argument that its good for a young person to struggle for a while because it hardens them up is entirely obnoxious! No young person should go without proper food, a warm and dry house to live in and some decent clothes. However the current regime has many young people living in abject poverty and things are getting worse.

The other argument the ageists often trot out is that young people don't understand politics. However the younger generations sure understand the negative consequences of having a bunch old old men in charge. In fact many young people understand politics to a far greater degree than older people, and getting people enthusiastic about exercising their democratic right at a young age would mean they're more likely to continue to vote as adults.

The fact of the matter is that young people no longer have the same opportunities as those who are making the decisions. Generally speaking, most young people will not have the ability to work themselves into a home they own, and they no longer have the benefits of a free education either. Unfortunately the governments ageist policy direction shows no signs of changing.

Is it any wonder then that young people are leaving New Zealand in record numbers? Is it any wonder that some young people drink to excess and take drugs? You could even say that the reason more young people kill themselves is because of the discrimination against them just for being young. In fact many of the negative conditions that young people exhibit are directly attributable to our ageist society, which must change if we want to see any progress in these important areas.

Giving young people the vote would go some way to rectify the problem... But don't expect National to do the right thing anytime soon.