Chris Hipkins said he’s put Jacinda Ardern’s Labour’s most controversial policies on the ‘policy bonfire’ – at least until after the election. But as you’ll see below, it’s a ruse.
The Labour Party are getting desperate. They are trying to trash democratic norms to ram through a stalking horse for their own electoral self-interest.
Last night we spotted that Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty has very quietly introduced to Parliament a last minute bill to change the voting age for local body elections from 18 to 16.
The Electoral (Lowering Voting Age for Local Elections and Polls) Legislation Bill was given just a few seconds of time for the title to be read out in Parliament and tabled.
The Bill establishes a new category of electors, named “youth electors”, and provides for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to be registered on a youth electoral roll to vote in council elections.Incredibly, this move to change the voting age has barely been mentioned by the media.
Normally, a Ministerial press release alerts media when the Government is introducing a significant bill to Parliament. But Kieran McAnulty’s media team have been unusually quiet. There is not a single piece of Beehive communications that mentions the Bill.
We’ve spent the morning working through the Bill (it is surprisingly complex as electoral rolls are used for not just local and general elections, but also jury duty pools and various trust elections).
What is clear is that a significant amount of work has gone into this Bill and Labour are not simply kicking the tires on the idea.
Friend, we think Labour are gambling on just slipping this one through – probably under urgency next week. Labour may be betting that if they can get this through quietly, it’ll just stay on the books after the election without public outcry to repeal it.
Make no mistake Friend, this is a stalking horse to ready New Zealand for 16 year olds to vote at elections – a change that would greatly benefit Labour and the Greens.
Instead of having a national conversation to build consensus for change (or not), the Government is abusing the final few weeks of its absolute majority in Parliament.
We say that the voting age is one of the most fundamental decisions in a democratic society. Any changes should be decided through a referendum, not sneaked through unnoticed or under urgency.
Without a written constitution there is nothing New Zealanders can do except to call it out for what it is and ensure this skulduggery is politically costly. That’s why I've had to send this email to ask for your support for a quick response advertising campaign. <[link removed]>
We need to blow the whistle on what the Government is doing. <[link removed]>
Labour has form in trying to screw the scrum in local elections. When Nanaia Mahuta was Minister, she changed the law to ban local referenda on Māori wards. And then there was Tāmati Coffey’s Rotorua Council bill that would have given the 19,791 Rotorua citizens on the Māori roll 2.6 times the voting power of the 51,618 Rotorua citizens on the general roll.
Reasonable minds may differ on whether 16 years old should be able to vote, but we say the change should be put to the people to decide – not sneaked through Parliament by the political party most likely to benefit from such changes.
We defeated Tamati Coffey’s attempt in Rotorua to screw the scrum, and we can defeat this attempt too. But we can only stop this change if we can make the public aware of what is going on. That’s why we are hoping to crowdfund a quick response advertising campaign and media blitz to raise awareness and hold the Government to account. <[link removed]>
At absolute minimum, we must force Chris Hipkins to commit to putting the Bill through a full six-month Select Committee process to ensure it is not rushed through under urgency before Parliament raises in two-and-a-half weeks.
Friend, this fight has come out of the blue. Our campaigning funds are already committed to pre-election campaigns highlighting the Government’s reckless spending, waste, and ever growing debt. We simply can’t divert donor money from those campaigns to fight this whole new front. So we are relying on supporters like you to fund advertising over the coming days to blow-up Hipkins' plan. <[link removed]>
Personally, I believe in letting kids enjoy the latter stages of childhood without the responsibilities of civic duty. I also resent the idea of letting politicians into schools to indoctrinate campaign for the votes of 16 and 17 year olds.
Maybe you don’t agree, and to be frank it’s not in the mission of the Taxpayers’ Union to have a position on the voting age. But as democrats, the principle we can agree on is that it should be the people, not the politicians, in charge of how our voting system and franchise works.
That’s why we are asking our supporters to step-up and support this effort to blow the whistle and force an immediate Government backdown. <[link removed]>
There’s been a vocal minority who have been championing a “make it 16” campaign. Nanaia Mahuta’s “Future of Local Government” hand-picked cronies fell over themselves to call for the change a few months back.The judiciary are captured too. Our politicised Supreme Court claims that 18 is an arbitrary age that cannot be justified, so judged in favour of the “Make it 16” group. But if 16, why not 14, or 12?
The good news is that the public will be furious when they find out what Labour are doing. As part of our monthly polls we’ve asked New Zealanders whether they support reducing the voting age to 16. Overwhelmingly Kiwis want the voting age to stay 18. Even Labour voters hate the idea of reducing the voting age – that's why we need to spread the word.
Labour will know the public would never support this, that’s why they are trying to sneak this through. But with the media asleep, the only way to ensure that these important decisions are left with the people and not self-interested politicians, is to ask for you to support this campaign. <[link removed]>
>> Click here to make a secure donation << <[link removed]>
Thank you for your support.
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
P.S. The team in Wellington are contacting the newspapers about last minute advertising for this weekend and early next week. But we can’t book anything until we know what funds we have available. Click here to make a secure donation <[link removed]>, or click here for the account details <[link removed]>.
New Zealand Taxpayers' Union Inc. - 117 Lambton Quay, Level 4, Wellington 6011, New Zealand