Monday, May 22, 2023

Labour chickens out on the voting age again

The Justice Committee has reported back on the declaration of inconsistency on the voting age. Sadly, the recommendations won't surprise anybody: the Labour-majority committee recommended that Parliament immediately lower the voting age for local government, and that it "investigate" lowering it for general elections (while remembering to fix a bunch of entirely fixable issues that this might create). Its a perfect example of how cowardly Labour is: while legislation for the latter can't pass without National's agreement - which National has said they will not give - Labour is too chickenshit even to issue a statement of principle, for fear that someone might object to it. And they're certainly not going to put up legislation and dare National to vote it down and cement themselves as ogres in the eyes of everyone under 18 (alternatively: give them an opportunity to do the right thing, as they eventually did on child-beating). Again, I have to ask: what is the point of a party which won't fight? Which is afraid of its own shadow, or the shadow of its supposed principles?

As for National and ACT, their minority reports make it crystal clear that they hate young people and don't care about New Zealand law or our international commitments. The courts have ruled that refusing to allow young people to vote violates the law by being inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act. As MP's, the onus is on them to fix that. Their refusal to do so, their simple denial of the court's ruling and their refusal to engage seriously with it is a declaration that they have no intention of doing their job. Which means we should be asking why are we paying them so much, if they won't treat the job with the required seriousness?