What MPs had to say about lowering voting age - and who said 16-year-old males aren't 'fully functioning'

There's virtually no hope for 16-year-olds to win the right to vote in general elections, with the National Party standing firm in its stance that 18 is just fine.

But there is one glimmer of hope in the form of local body elections. Allowing 16-year-olds to vote in local elections would only require a simple 50 percent majority in Parliament. 

MPs were asked at Parliament on Tuesday whether they support 16-year-olds being able to vote.

"Yes, I do," said Labour's Chris Hipkins.

"Even as a 16-year-old, I wouldn't have supported it then," said National's Simeon Brown.

"I'd be supportive of that," said Labour's Grant Robertson.

"The psychological evidence is that our young people, adolescents, for young men [are] not fully functioning," said National's Harete Hipango.

"[I] think there's some 16 and 17-year-olds that are smarter than most of us to be honest," said Labour's Kieran McAnulty.

Legislation for lowering our voting age to 16 will be drafted after the Supreme Court ruled our current voting age of 18 is inconsistent with our right to freedom from age discrimination.

National is accusing the Government of diverting focus.

"All of this is a real distraction from what a Government should be focussed on… how do we actually deal with ram-raids and violent crime," said Christopher Luxon.

The Prime Minister was at pains to point out that "by law, Parliament has to consider this significant declaration by the Supreme Court". 

"By law, we have to respond to this… parliamentarians have to debate this issue."

Changing our electoral laws requires a 75 percent supermajority in the House. 

That means the Bill is doomed before it even gets there because National won't support it.

There is another, easier way to give 16-year-olds the vote though and that's by changing our local body election laws because that only requires a 50 percent majority and it could be a way to get some other parties on board. 

"I guess you can't do quite as much damage electing a bad council as you can electing a bad government," said ACT's David Seymour. 

"It's been a question that's been put to me," said Ardern. "We need to work through a bit of advice yet."

So voting for local councils could be the perfect platform for 16-year-olds to whip out their ballot box training wheels.