Lower the voting age?

Written By: - Date published: 2:10 pm, October 11th, 2011 - 47 comments
Categories: democratic participation, political education - Tags: ,

It’s a suggestion that comes up every now and again.  Here it is in its current incarnation:

Lower voting age: Mana

The Mana Party is calling for 16 and 17-year-olds to be allowed to vote. The current voting age is 18 but Mana says young people should be given a say on what sort of country they will inherit.

Mana’s social wellbeing spokeswoman Sue Bradford said the lower voting age should be introduced alongside measures to include civics education as part of the school curriculum.

“As a nation we are very keen to find fault with our young people, but slow to recognise their contribution and to give them the opportunity to participate in the decisions that determine their future.”

Mana wanted the core curriculum to include education about political conventions and mechanisms, as well as the underpinnings of central and local government and the legal system, she said. ….

I’m in favour of both proposals. Politics should be about the future, not the past. Get young people informed, and get them involved early. Any of the counter-arguments to 16 year olds voting apply equally well to vast chunks of the “adult” voting population, and besides, I don’t see how the young can make any bigger mess of things than we are making.

47 comments on “Lower the voting age?”

  1. The Baron 1

    Interesting idea. I support with the hope that 16 & 17 year olds are up to the responsibility, and educate and inform themselves accordingly.

    With that in mind, age is a bit of a blunt criteria for determining political franchise. I’d rather see people being required to pass some sort of basic test to determine whether they are sufficiently informed to participate fully. If you can pass the test at enrollment, you can vote – regardless of age.

    • Chris 1.1

      Couldn’t happen though. Would be too easy for a government that felt inclined to interpret informed as siding with them.

      i.e. Question 1 Do you know the main parties
      Question 2 Are you aware how National is proposing to close the deficit?
      Question 3 Are you aware Labour caused the deficit?
      Question 4 Are you aware that partial privitisation is an efficient way to raise funds?

      Answer no to any of these questions and you can’t vote.

      • logie97 1.1.1

        Question 5. Do you agree to a government being able to send you away to foreign shores to fight and be killed in a war. If yes then you have the right to vote.

    • Peter 1.2

      No need for a test. Just give everyone the franchise at birth, with their parents holding their proxy either until they take it up themselves, or they turn 16.

    • McFlock 1.3

      I get what you’re saying (and civics classes in schools would be a good idea to go alongside), the trouble is that it screams “literacy test”. Something that’s either open to local tampering or merely forces society to conform to arbitrary national standards. Both of which are bad.
       
      Personally I fail to see a natural dividing line for the vote, so 18 seems like a reasonable level. A lot of 15 and 16 year olds are still, well, idiots. So are a lot of 18y.o., or even 40 y.o., but 18 is around the point that idiocy-related hospital admissions tend to peak and begin to decline. Sort of a common-sense analogue.

      • McFlock 1.3.1

        actually, allow me to retract – a tory is terrified it will open the floodgates of naive teens voting in socialist policies, which is an aspect I hadn’t considered. It smacks of gerrymandering (demographic not geographic), but call me neutral on the idea 🙂

  2. This sounds like a reasonable idea. I especially like voting being introduced while they can be taught about it at school. This will get some complaints of teachers telling kids who to vote for but there can easily be ways of monitoring that.

    Should this be decided by a referendum? Of 16+ or 18+?

  3. Jimmy 3

    Given the poor electoral enrollment levels for under 25’s at this time I think our focus on youth voting should be elsewhere.

  4. Phaedrus 4

    On principle, I like this. However going by the reported lower enrolments in those 18+, it seems we’ve got to engage these people first and bring them into an active role in voting. Merely changing the eligibility, without first bringing meaning to the process, seems to be a ‘cart before the horse’ approach.

  5. lprent 5

    <curmudgeon mode=’extreme’>

    Having looked at the appalling voting and enrollment record of 18-24yo’s for a while, I’d stipulate that I’d agree if the voting for teens (and 20’s) must be compulsory. If we’re going to put it in to help then get used to voting, then why not go the full hog and make sure that they do it?

    While we’re at it, make sure that failure to vote when required is a criminal offence in adult court. That way if we don’t get them to have the educational experience of voting, then we can give them the educational experience of being in the dock of an actual criminal court and possibly prison for repeat offenders.

    (grumble)

    </curmudgeon>

    • Jenny 5.1

      Personally I am in awe of the enthusiasm and optimism of our young.

      Why do 18 to 24 year olds fail to take up the opportunity to enroll?

      Maybe years of telling them that their opinions are irrelevant.

      Get them young I say.

      ACLF (Anti-Curmudgeon Liberation Front)

    • Rich 5.2

      So what your saying is that the state is allowed to use violence (which is the ultimate sanction behind all laws) in order to force people to express an opinion. Why don’t you go the whole hog – waterboard recalcitrant non-voters until they make a choice.

      What’s wrong with the idea that not voting equates to voting for whatever everyone else decides?

      • Rich 5.2.1

        [I would however make enrolment automatic and transparent, which isn’t hard to do.

        The “motor-voter” idea is about the easiest. Applying for a driving license results in a person’s voting eligibility getting checked (e.g. against passport and immigration records) and their being enrolled. Same thing with passports and tax numbers, for those that don’t drive.]

  6. Tribeless 6

    Dreadful idea. Nine out of ten kids would vote Left because through necessary immaturity – as with our PM – they’ve mistaken socialism with social caring, thus we would be destroyed by Left politics completely.

    Age and maturity teaches the lesson the Left is the problem that has no solution, thus I want mature voters who’ve had a chance to learn from life, and read some philosophy.

    Indeed, I think there is a very good argument for saying only those who are paying tax should have the vote … now that would correct a whole lot of societal and economic problems quickly.

    (Mind you, democracy, itself, is the problem. A constitutional minarchy is really what we need, but there are so many brute, busy body Statists who want to run everyone’s lives for them, it’ll never happen in my lifetime, unfortunately.)

    • McFlock 6.1

      “Indeed, I think there is a very good argument for saying only those who are paying tax should have the vote …”
       
      Nah, it’s just a tory wet dream. Even if you managed it, all that would happen is that there’d be a real revolution within a few years and your ass would get kicked out of the country.

      • Tribeless 6.1.1

        Well if the Tories had learned the politics of brute force and Statism from the Left masters of it, yes I agree. No doubt.

        But I’m no Tory, I’m classical liberal, and just want the sort of freedom and liberty no Lefty or Tory Statist is ever going to give me, even though I can’t name one politician in my lifetime who is or has been qualified to run my life for me.

        • McFlock 6.1.1.1

          Lol – “classical liberal” – 70% of the population are “free” to starve, work lethally dangerous jobs for a pittance, or wait for the local hob-knobbery to throw a few crumbs their way. 
           
          “Classical liberal” is synonymous with “selfish idiot”.

          • Tribeless 6.1.1.1.1

            Not hard to see why Western civilisation is falling to Statist barbarity and bankruptcy. As our welfare states decline into the violence from the unloved children of the unloved.

            The shallowest thinkers I have met equate socialism with caring and classical liberalism with greed. Along the theme of this thread, you think in the straight lines of a child.

            • McFlock 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Nah, I’ve just seen to many idiot tories like yourself to bother reiterating the “you see, normal people tend to give a shit when we see a hungry child. The fact that you want the so-called ‘freedom’ to refuse to help it is a deficiency in YOUR character, not ours” debate.

              • Tribeless

                [I’ve let this long ramble through because it’s a nice example of how you can make anything true given the right premises: for example, all socialists are arseholes because of this story that Tribeless made up. Eddie]

                How old are you – nine?

                I think you need the parable of the piss-head – I reckon you should change your handle to Toohey.

                Classical Liberal Society:

                Freewoman Dagney walking along the street sees a person whose been injured. He’s fallen off his bike trying to learn a new trick to impress his kid with. She rushes to him, checks him out, thinks he doesn’t look too good, so pulls out her mobile – one of those great innovations of capitalism – and rings an ambulance – yes, the free, classical liberal society still has ambulances – and sits with him until it comes, keeping him comfortable. She finds out his name is Freeman Hank.

                Why did Freewoman Dagney do this?

                Because she was human, she loved her life, going about it excitedly pursuing her happiness, why would she not help someone in trouble.

                Freeman Hank spent three weeks in hospital, paid for by the insurance that was part of his salary package, and over the next decade went on to become a billionaire after inventing a bicycle helmet that used GPS to warn of cars driven by the teenage children of drunken social(alist) democrats, and he used a great part of the proceeds to set up a charity teaching philosophy throughout Africa after being almost killed in a tribal war while cycling through Zaire on holiday. His Non Initiation of Force Principles 101 is now being taught throughout that continent.

                Social(alist) Democracy

                Social activist Toohey is driving hungover from the party after last night’s demo, and accidentally hits a cyclist. He pulls up, runs to him, checks him out, curses that he’s been so busy campaigning for the imposition of the capital gains tax to achieve equity in the tax system, and what with the excise tax rise increasing the cost of his tobacco, and the 73% excise tax on his whisky, he couldn’t afford to keep up with his mobile plan, making it impossible to call St John, so he comforts the victim with the sense of social justice that gets him through his own life:

                ‘Hold on comrade, I’ll selflessly organise a protest march on parliament seeking aide for you. The problem is the rich pricks aren’t having enough taken from them to pay for our necessities of life, I can’t even afford to run my mobile. The injustice,’ gesticulating with his fist as he warms to his topic, ‘of it all is intolerable, I mean where do you think they are, those two doctors, sitting on their yachts swilling wine I bet, I’m glad the IRD has dealt to them. You wait, the Big Kahuna will force them all to give the two of us equal incomes so we never need be in this appalling need. Oh, this is great, thank goodness I’ve knocked you from your bike; I see it all now, your misfortune here has taught me a lesson I’m never going to forget. I’m going to demand of the State a caring society. A compassionate society where no one needs to be dying … mate? Mate?’

                ‘Oh, I think he’s dead.’

                ‘Look!’ to a passerby, ‘those damned rich pricks, they’ve let this guy die in the street.’

                [Social(alist) Democrat Toohey got diversion for a first offence, and ultimately entered politics at just 37 years old, winning his seat largely on the strength of a stunning performance in a TV debate where in five minutes he managed to use the word ‘fair’ 155 times. He staked his political flag with United, because he was excited by their scientific approach. After his second electoral win, he was made a Minister in Cabinet and after cleverly figuring out how to ‘fairly’ tax everything, set to making law after law after law – ultimately he could pass law as easily as the wind he got from eating the rich food at Ballamy’s. His biggest achievement was law to deal with New Zealand’s shocking child and adult murder rate; he passed law enacting the monitoring of all individuals by the State from birth to age of 45. In this way he made history, as a man who from nothing made something of himself …

                … while destroying a society.]

                • Ianupnorth

                  FFS get a life man, stop believing in Act and brash!

                  • Tribeless

                    ACT are compulsion touters. I vote freedom: Libertarianz.

                    Why jump to these conclusions about me? You don’t know me. Try thinking about ‘stuff’. Don’t think in straight lines, forcing everyone into little pigeon holes restricted by your own limited experience; life is much bigger and better than that. Or at least the lives of free men are: get out of my life, you and your brute, barbarian Police State.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      There’s no difference between Act and Libertarians.

                      BTW, the US health insurance scam system costs three times as much as our public health system, is about as good and only reaches 5/6ths of the population.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You vote freedom? Do you even realise that your stupid ideas have created a prison for your own mind?

                    • Tribeless

                      For the two below, there is no comparison between ACT and Libertarianz: none. The first persists in wanting to partake in a social(alist) democracy whereas Libz want the free Classical Liberal minarchy.

                      You cite the US medical system as a privatised failure, yet the biggest single spend of the US government is Medicare: that’s no part of a free market.

                      Look at all your posts. What invests them all is aggression. Just as the State does, you all attempt to work by misrepresenting – normally through not having the ability to understand me – me, and then bullying.

                      All the classical liberal wants is a peaceful free society, where you have no influence over my life, or me over you. The main role of the limited State to police the non initiation of force principle. So, given I initiate force against no other, I can do whatever the hell I want, and you the same.

                      But your society is the opposite. Bully and cajole. You think you represent the compassionate society, but even the tone of your posts shows the opposite.

                      The classical liberal wants only to be left alone, to pursue his or her happiness, within the love and life for his family and friends. Whereas your bullying posts show you to represent the darkest places the 20th century Statist took society.

                      You would sacrifice my life on the bloodied altar of the common good. You are toxic, as is this site.

                      You carry on your coercive ways without me.

                      [but, then, who will we coerce?]

                    • RedLogix

                      All the classical liberal wants is a peaceful free society, where you have no influence over my life, or me over you.

                      All society is influence over others.

                      The classical liberal wants only to be left alone, to pursue his or her happiness, within the love and life for his family and friends.

                      Now you have me confused; first you want to be left alone, next you want family and friends. (As if these spring from nothingness to serve you personal vanity.)

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      For the two below, there is no comparison between ACT and Libertarianz: none.

                      They say the same things and follow the same ideology and it’s an ideology of greed and power. Greed for ownership of the communities wealth (privatisation) and, through that ownership, power over the community itself.

                      …yet the biggest single spend of the US government is Medicare: that’s no part of a free market.

                      It’s two things:
                      1.) The state having to step in to fix market failure
                      2.) Politicians, who have been bought out by the capitalists, giving subsidies to big business.

                      All the classical liberal wants is a peaceful free society, where you have no influence over my life, or me over you.

                      Ah, yes, the mythical non-existence of society. The delusional belief that your actions don’t affect me when it’s plainly obvious that they do and because they do affect I thus have a say in what you do.

                      So, given I initiate force against no other, I can do whatever the hell I want, and you the same.

                      Except that’s not actually true is it? Whenever you do something that affects me and I have no say in that then you have initiated force against me. The many to many relationships that would be required for your utopia to work are, quite simply, impossible and that’s why we have government – the administrative arm of society. It has, of course, been taken too far by National, Act and other right-wing parties in that they do want it to be a dictatorship by the rich.

                      But your society is the opposite. Bully and cajole.

                      Now you’re just lying. Bully and cajole? Nope, just want people to participate in society and to be aware of what’s happening around them.

                      You would sacrifice my life on the bloodied altar of the common good.

                      Again, you’re lying. All the bloodied altars are caused by the capitalists. Poverty throughout the world is a direct result of capitalism as the capitalists take and restrict the wealth of the community.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Oh, BTW Tribeless, I suggest you read this. I will warn you though, it could hurt as it has reality in it and shows up your ideology as the myth that it is.

                    • McFlock

                      It’s amazing what happens when one goes off for a quiet evening.
                      Libertarians really need to read more John Donne.

    • even beneficiaries pay GST, that’s a tax.

    • Ianupnorth 6.3

      Bullshit, I’ve got more left as I have become older. Your argument may have some merit – the older you become the greedier and more vindictive many people become.

    • felix 6.4

      From my observations, smart people tend to lean more to the left as they mature.

      As an adolescent it’s not unusual to be attracted to ideas of individuality, as they resonate well with the new found personal freedom associated with coming of age.

      Only the dull or greedy stall there forever.

  7. Worst Idea ever.

    16 year olds to have the vote??? I mean really????

    Hone must be desperate.

    [Why is it a bad idea? If you only voice conclusions, not reasons for your views that can be debated, you’re trolling. Eddie]

  8. JS 8

    Why not 12? Probably most Year 8 intermediate aged children will be studying the election in social studies next term and will be more informed about the process and the issues than many older people. It’s also about their future.

  9. Lanthanide 9

    I have some problems with this that I don’t think I can properly articulate.

    Sure, I’d like it if 16 and 17 year olds could vote, but as many above have said, a lot of them are uninformed idiots and a good bunch of them won’t vote anyway.

    I guess Sue is trying to deflect that argument by calling for civics education. I definitely agree, but think we should be having that sort of education anyway. And even with it in place, I don’t think it’ll do much good (also a lot of kids drop out from school at age 15 or 16 anyway). I do vaguely recall having some discussions about voting, the electoral systems and referenda in 4th form social studies, but I don’t know for how many classes that was, whether it was a formal part of the curriculum or not or just something the teacher wanted to cover. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a test on it.

    I keep coming back to some way of letting 16 and 17 year olds have a limited form of voting (like electorate only). But then the question is “why”, and also “well if they’re not going to get a full vote, why bother giving them anything?” I don’t really have sensible answers to those questions.

    A lot of adults are uninformed idiots as well. I don’t have any solution to that problem either.

  10. Herodotus 10

    As under the law under 18 year olds are unable to sign contracts obtain credit cards or do the time for the crime, required to have an adult present when questioned by the police, require parential consent regarding medical operations, not be able to enter into marriage. Why are they now by some being pushed to be able to vote. You are either an adult and capable of making adult decisions in all aspects of life or you are to young.
    So I hope Sue will be pushing for 16 & 17 year olds to be treated in ALL aspects of live as an adult NO exceptions.

  11. A foetus 11

    gimme the vote you fuckers !

  12. Hilary 12

    Some of these comments above would not be out of place in 1892 before women won the vote, or in the early 1970s when it was still at 21.

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      But I agree with giving women the vote, and I think 18 is a better age than 21.

      That doesn’t mean I should also be in favour of dropping it to 16-17. The question then becomes, why stop at 16?

      Actually one thing I would be in favour of: you’re eligible to vote if you turn 18 within the same calendar year as the election is held. So people who turn 18 on the 31st of Dec will still be able to vote.

      I missed out on voting in 2002 because HC held the election early.

  13. gingercrush 13

    I’m all for it. If 16 and 17 year olds want to vote then they should be allowed to do so. My only concern would be there is already difficult getting 18-24 year olds to be enrolled. Therefore, for 16 and 17 year olds don’t make it mandatory to be enrolled and if you are 16 or 17 and you do wish to vote you must be enrolled early.

  14. Afewknowthetruth 14

    In traditiional indigenous societies only those who have white hair are regarded as having sufficient wisdom to make important decisions for the tribe. And they are required to consider the effect any decision they make will have on the seventh generation to come. In some traditional socieites only women had the vote, and they elected men as ‘guardians of the future’.

    The problem with our present system is that uninformed fools have to right to vote for uninformed fools, opportunists and saboteurs, most of whom are mostly working to the agendas of money-lenders and corporations. Altering the voting age will not alter that state of affairs.

    One way round the problem would be for every potential voter to sit an eligibility test that establishes their capability to make an informed choice. We could well find that many 16-year-olds are beter informed than so-called adults, and better able to make informed choices about the future, though I suspect the majority of 16-year-olds would be fairly clueless.

    By the same token every political candidate should be required to pass an eligibility test to demonstrate they have the knowledge and skill necessary to govern properly. That test should include scientific and mathematical literacy -something sadly lacking amongst our so-called leaders at the moment.

    Let’s face it, 80% of current voters would fail such a test. since most have no idea what or who they are voting for and don’t particularly care, and I am sure more that 80% of current politicians are worse than useless. That is exactly why NZ is in such a dreadful mess (along with most other so-called ‘democratic’ nations).

    As have pointed out on numerous occasons, it is the young people of this (and other nations) who are going to pay the horrendous price for the profligacy and stupidity of their elders, who have been in power or are currently in power: the youngsters will have to cope with attempting to live on a resource-depleted planet that is undergoing abrupt climate change and collapse of the food system.

    Each day that passes brings the day of reckoning closer for the criminals and clowns currently in power.

    However, it’s all rather esoteric, since the system is so close to point of collapsing nothing can alter the outcome at this late stage in the game. The only thing we can affect is the degree of suffering: permaculture gardens or riot police, tanks and gas canisters to quell the masses?

    .

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Alfred Ngaro might be sorry – but to whom?
    The fact that the number of people classified as homeless on the Social Housing Register has doubled over the past year alone should be the real reason for Alfred Ngaro’s recent apologies, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “As ...
    17 hours ago
  • Government’s data-for-funding backdown embarrassing
    The Government’s U-turn on their shambolic attempt to collect private client data from social services is an embarrassment for a senior Minister, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “After months of criticism and mismanagement, the Government has finally cut ...
    18 hours ago
  • Overloaded hospitals reach crisis point
      The country’s hospitals have reached breaking point with some hospitals discharging patients to free up bed space and patients with serious injuries having to wait hours to be seen by a doctor, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    18 hours ago
  • National fails on critical school building needs
    Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up ...
    1 day ago
  • Tipping culture is not welcome in NZ
    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s comments about tipping have been in the news and have sparked off a series of furious discussions about tipping in Aotearoa. From our point of view, tipping every time you’re provided a service is a ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health a huge cost for Police
      The cost of dealing with mental health incidents for our police was a staggering $36.7 million which shows just why we need Labour’s fresh approach on Mental Health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “Police now ...
    2 days ago
  • Grant Robertson: Speech to Otago-Southland Employers Association
    Thanks to the Otago Southland Employers Association and Virginia for hosting me this evening.  It is always a pleasure to come back to the city and region that shaped who I am as a person. I believe that growing up ...
    3 days ago
  • Renting a home in the Wild West
    It can be tough renting a place to live, and it could be about to get tougher. Radio NZ is reporting that the American Rentberry app wants to start operating in New Zealand. Rentberry allows landlords to play perspective tenants ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    3 days ago
  • Free West Papua leader in Aotearoa
    Last week I hosted Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda at Parliament and travelled with him to a number of important events. Benny is spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and lives in exile in England. 14 ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Nats unprepared for record immigration
    National’s under-investment in housing, public services, and infrastructure means New Zealand is literally running out of beds for the record number of new migrants, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour opposes Ports of Auckland sale
    Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National ...
    1 week ago
  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    1 week ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    1 week ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    1 week ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    1 week ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt plays catch up on drug funding
    The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes in Hamilton
    Labour will build 200 affordable KiwiBuild houses and state houses on unused government-owned land as the first steps in our plan to fix Hamilton’s housing crisis, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “We will build new houses to replace ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Mental Health waiting times a growing concern
    There is new evidence that the Mental Health system is under increasing strain with waiting times for young people to be seen by mental health and addiction services lengthening says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “Following yesterday’s seat of ...
    3 weeks ago