The coalition Government has scrapped the previous government’s Electoral Legislation Bill which would have allowed 16-year-olds to vote in council elections.
Local Government Minister Simeon Brown said the Government “does not intend to support” the Bill through further parliamentary stages and requested the committee ends its consideration of the Bill.
“I have written to the Chairperson of the Justice Committee to inform him that the Government does not intend to support the Electoral (Lowering Voting Age for Local Elections and Polls) Legislation Bill through further parliamentary stages,” he said in a statement.
“Worrying about how to implement a new voting age regime would be a costly distraction for councils who have enough issues to deal with right now,” he said.
An Act Party spokesman welcomed the announcement, saying the lowered voting age was “always a stupid idea”.
Brown said ratepayers and residents “expect their local councils to be sticking to core business” and that the previous government proposed lowering of the voting age to 16 but could not provide the public with any convincing reason why.
“Their plans were without logic and we will not be progressing them.”
Earlier this month, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith ruled out lowering the voting age in general elections to 16 as well as allowing prisoners the right to vote, despite being the recommendations of an Independent Electoral Review.
ACT Local Government spokesman Cameron Luxton welcomed the end to “Labour’s push” to lower the voting age to 16 for local elections.
“Asking kids who don’t pay rates, rent, or water bills to elect local councillors was always a stupid idea,” he said in a statement. “Democracy works best when voters have skin in the game.
“Giving 16-year-olds local votes was the thin end of the wedge to lower the voting age in national elections and skew the playing field toward the political left.
“I had to wait until after I was 18 to vote, and the next generation will do the same. That’s equal rights.”