READER REPORT:

Lowering the voting age would be a disaster

STEVE WALTON
Last updated 13:28 16/03/2017
Classroom
123RF.com

Giving teenagers the vote would only lead to biased and uninformed decisions.

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Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I came across a recent article published on Stuff.co.nz that perplexed me.

It was an opinion piece written by Jimmy Ellingham detailing why he agrees with Andrew Becroft's recent idea to change the voting age in New Zealand from 18 to 16.

Now, the first thing that I need to make to clear is I am a 17-year-old male in my last year of school and I've always lived in Christchurch.

Jimmy Ellingham is a journalist, and sorry for my poor researching skills, but I'm about 99 per cent sure he's not under 18.

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This is significant because someone who isn't a teenager cannot understand how stupid, pointless and worthless this voting age change idea is.

In essence, voting is about choosing which political party offers better policies for your life. But most of us, including me, won't leave home until we're over 18, which likely means our parents provide most of our food, money and shelter.

Most policies from New Zealand's two main political parties, National and Labour, encompass those three key ideas: food, money and shelter.

For example, Labour's 'fixing the housing crisis' policy and National's 'comprehensive housing plan'.

Labour's plan is to crack down on foreign investors, expand the workforce and increase the number of emergency homes.

National, on the other hand, wish to reform a Resource Management Act, introduce a $1 billion housing infrastructure fund and create special housing areas for high demand areas.

But because I'm 17, neither of those policies would affect me as it's my parents who control where and how I live.

And that's the point. When we are under 18, our opinions are guided by the opinions of the most influential people in our lives: our parents.

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I attend a private school in Christchurch which, generally speaking, means most students talk positively about National.

But most students don't even know what Labour and National stand for and rather ironically, I found most policies - notably those housing ones - for each party somewhat daunting and confusing.

In my experience, giving teenagers the vote would only lead to biased, naive and uninformed decisions about issues we don't understand.

School isn't the real world, so why give school students a vote for real world issues which don't affect them?


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