Should New Zealand's voting age be dropped to 16?

The Prime Minister has flat-out refused to even consider dropping the voting age to 16.

It comes after the Children's Commissioner said the time is right to discuss the idea, as getting people engaged in politics earlier can only be good for democracy.

"They're essentially disenfranchised. The issues that concern them haven't been dealt with well," Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft told Newshub.

Prime Minister Bill English though says there definitely won't be any changes.

"I'm certainly ruling it out between now and the next election."

Getting young people to vote has traditionally been a tough sell. Community group Rock Enrol held parties before the last election to encourage people to vote.

Laura O'Connel-Rapira from Rock Enrol says, "We have different ideas, different visions, different thoughts about what the future is going to be and ultimately I think we should have a say."

There is a precedent for lowering the age; the voting age was dropped in Scotland, Brazil, Austria, Argentina, and research there shows voting younger encourages a lifetime of participation.

There are almost 12,000 16- and 17-year-olds in New Zealand, so they would make a significant voting block.

Newshub.

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