Porirua City Council has backed a motion from Pāuatahanui ward councillor, Josh Trlin, to support the Make It 16 campaign, which seeks to lower the voting age to 16.
Council says the hope is that other local authorities will also endorse the movement to lower the voting age to 16 in time for the 2025 local elections.
At this week’s meeting, eight councillors and Mayor Anita Baker supported Councillor Trlin’s motion, while Councillors Ross Leggett and Mike Duncan voted against it.
Part of the motion includes that consultation on the issue will be carried out by a select committee, which will consider the views of the community.
“Porirua City Council has long understood the importance of engaging with our rangatahi, and we put children and young people at the heart of our city as one of our key strategic priorities,” said Cr Trlin.
“Expressing support for lowering the voting age sends a clear message to our youth: we support and respect them and want them to have a more direct influence on their own future.
“Sixteen- and 17-year-olds can leave school, work full-time, pay taxes, and drive a car. They actively participate in and are impacted by the rules we create in our society and have every right to have a say on them.”
Mayor Baker echoed Cr Trlin’s sentiments that the voices of 16- and 17-year-olds are valid.
“They are quite capable of voting. We have lots of adults who don’t vote. The generation going forward is for the young people, so this is a chance for them to actually have their say.”
Prior to the vote, Cr Trlin reminded councillors that they were making a decision around fundamental human rights.
“Here in Porirua as always we say we value the views of children and young people, so let’s walk the walk and let’s value the views of our rangatahi.”
The Government has flagged that it will consider the proposal to lower the voting age, but it will need the support of 75% of Parliament to achieve it.