Lowering the voting age, lowering the MMP threshold and 4 year terms


Electoral system review: Major recommendations to lower voting age to 16, cap donations, and create 4-year terms

An independent panel of experts is recommending a radical reshaping of the nation’s political landscape, including lowering the voting age to 16, capping political donations and a referendum on extending the parliamentary term to four years.

The series of draft recommendations, suggesting sweeping changes to ensure the system is delivering for voters, would give the more than 125,000 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote, and grow the electorate by more than 3%.

People aged 16 can already drive, have a firearms licence, and leave school.

In its interim report, the panel also recommended extending voting rights to all prisoners, changing the party vote threshold to 3.5% and abolishing the one electorate seat threshold.

Here are my thoughts on the ideas expressed.

Allowing Prisoners to vote: Yes. You don’t lose your intrinsic right to vote in a. democracy because you are in prison. The punishment of prison is your liberty, not your civil and human rights. The reason National fucked up the prisoner voting rights ban is because they didn’t get the supermajority to do it. Seeing as your rights are curtailed in prison, allowing prisoners the right to vote is essential because they have no other voice inside prison.

Lower MMP threshold to 3.5: Yes. The 5% threshold is too high, it doesn’t work and it limits the ideas and ability for smaller parties got actually engage in the process.

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Lower voting age to 16: Yes. Their rights as citizens are being impacted by climate change while older voters don’t give a shit. Politicians having to hear young voters concerns is a good thing.

4 year terms: No. I say 3 years because our Parliament is a unicameral legislature which makes it the most powerful Parliament in the Westminster tradition. Under urgency you can literally read a bill into law within a day! That’s enormous power and to allow that power to go unchecked by the people once every 3 years feels like a recipe for abuse. The reason little gets done in 3 year terms is because the public service block reform and change for their own agendas. A party that actually had a 100 day legislative plan could force change but that takes courage. Lengthening the term will just allow the Wellington Mafia to entrench their interests further. Politicians need to be brave and use the powers this Parliament provides rather than lengthening the dates between accountability!


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    • Yep National changed the boundary of the electorate including the North Shore boundary and wallah! Guess who won?

        • You really are an anger filter hey.

          What definition of “deam” state are you using when Martyn teases out the consequences of recommendations?

          Come back down to earth, no comment.

          • The obstacles in the way of most of these “dreams” would be very hard to overcome, especially as they require bipartisan or super-majorities to push through. Even if Labour was keen to run roughshod over our democratic processes as they are wont to do, they are definitely not in National or ACTs interests, so it is unlikely they would want to support them. Dreams from smoking too much pipe weed, is all they are, nothing but dreams. Too many dreamers on the Left, reality is going to bite in October.

      • Probably the only thing that will help the Uniparty establishment in that regard is migration. Everyone who wants a high wage can leave, and just get in cheap foreigners instead.

        The most important reforms weren’t suggested. Why don’t we have an upper house any more? Why is there a ‘waste vote’, instead of ranked-choice voting? Why isn’t voting compulsory? Where is the right of recall?

        I also don’t think there is a good reason for having any threshold at all, when a minimum number of party members already exists.

  1. As Hipkins said this morning on RNZ “there have been several Christian parties that have failed to reach the 5%”.

    Be careful what you wish for…

    • And what a masterful demonstration of evasion that little “interview” was. What actually was its purpose? He didn’t answer one question.

    • I’d rather twenty 3.5% weirdo parties than two 40% neoliberal ones.

      Parties should be small and parliament a competition of ideas, these broadchurch nothing parties suppress all thought.

  2. No way. Seriously a bad idea and look at what has happened already prisoners getting the vote – gangs up 13% while nobody wants to be a nurse or essential worker anymore.

    Nefarious groups that pretend to be human rights groups or therapists and very well funded, grooming this age group of vulnerable people like autistic people (very successfully) to do whatever they are told https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nhs-trans-surgery-damaged-my-body-for-ever-its-not-safe-jt2hhbrgk

    So many damaged people who have become an army groomed – https://newdiscourses.com/2023/05/intersectionality-is-american-maoism/ going to be a big security issue for the west going forward as they seem to be prepped to prepared to do anything including violence, while destroying freedom of speech – all paid for by the taxpayers – anyone questioning gets cancelled and fired https://dailycaller.com/2023/03/13/dei-instructor-fired-community-college-deanza-dei-diversity-kendi-woke/.

  3. I used to be supportive of the vote16 (I’m 67 & started fulltime work at 16) however now that the judiciary with the connivance of psychobabble 101 & defence lawyers have decided that serious offenders committing eg multiple rapes are still kids until age 25 & not responsible for their actions I’ve changed my mind & I’m sure many others have too.

  4. Dumbing things down has been a thing for the government for the past 30 years or so. These suggestions, recommendations are just that.

    Also, a bucket load of money for these clowns to come up with these shite ideas.

  5. Seriously too much grifting becoming acceptable in young age groups – for a successful society it needs to be based on some sort of trust – thus I think that voting needs to be higher age not lower with global capitalism and grifting now being a lifestyle with more status than being a mere low status nurse or teacher!

    Now easy to fake your way into formally prestigious universities as a foreign student by faking your academic transcripts and then buy 40,000 instagram followers to pretend that you are an influencer – when that gets old – get status by your new book ‘scammers’ about how to be a grifter. You get a book deal too!

    ‘Gatsby of Cambridge’ Caroline Calloway scammed her way into prestigious university

    “On her website she sells sticker sets for $20, snake oil for $65 and “grift cards” featuring slogans such as “I’d never sell you out to The Cut” for $15.”

    Modern youth founders don’t worry about being factual, and those venture capitalists and government only too keen to throw them money, don’t seem to bother to check!

    30 under 30-year sentences: why so many of Forbes’ young heroes face jail

    Fake being a doctor and having a degree – no problem – nobody checks anymore!
    How imposter doctor’s lies went undetected for years

    The modern youth NZ influencer who likes to blackmail to get freebies and expects a luxury lifestyle paid for by grift and TV appearances on reality TV shows.

    Auckland reality stars threaten to expose landlord on social media, lose Tenancy Tribunal case

    Gang membership is seemingly more lucrative than being a student and there are two new ‘youth’ gangs who have being formed in the last few years.

    Parents showing their kids how to ram raid.

  6. It’s perfectly rational for the Greens to push for lowering the voting age. If you espouse a childish worldview, naturally you want children to have the vote.

    • Exactly. This whole thing is being pushed by the Left, which also includes allowing prisoners to vote – isn’t the whole point of locking people up for crimes to take away freedom as punishment for your crime? Obviously Labour/Greens know that these proposed changes will disproportionately benefit them, which is why they’re (imo cynically) pimping it in the first place.
      Sixteen year olds, by and large, do not pay taxes and, unlike pensioners, have never paid taxes. They have no stake in the game and are not paying the salaries of the elected. The exception – working 16 year olds (i.e. those that pay taxes), that I can get onboard with.
      Needless to say, once the voting age is lowered to 16, we have to allow them to drink and smoke too, right? Surely they can no longer be considered “minors” and all the societal protections that affords.

  7. C’mon Bomberino! Which of our “professional” managers in Parliament are going to let this sort of reform through?
    Self interested gatekeepers the lot of them…

  8. Too many affluent, youth ‘victims’ who make a living off their victimhood! Not a fan for this unworldly out of touch group of over privileged, whining, therapy and media addicted casual drugies creating their new reality which doesn’t seem to include real jobs, contributing to society.

    Prince Harry’s ‘latest wheeze’ is a live therapy session with paid admission

  9. Get rid of MMP. ( All MMP does is divide while the neo-liberalism they’re parasitised by just gets stronger.) Make voting compulsory. ( Participating in a democracy requires certain elements of that democracy to be compulsory otherwise the composite of the elements of the democracy will decay and weaken. ) Increase the voting age to 20. ( Because before 20 it’s all dicks, pussies and getting drug fucked which far out-way rational thinking which is also why I’d give almost anything to give my teens another go.)

    • That should read ‘outweigh’ .
      As in KH and others who should never let their stupidity outweigh their ignorance. Enlightenment fixes ignorance but there’s no cure for stupidity.

  10. All this bullshit about brain development in 16 year olds. Please! If the feral anti vax nut jobs prove anything, brain development in adults is no given. Should we stop over seventies voting on the basis that there is a high chance of cognitive decline?

  11. lowering the voting age gaurantees nothing..

    4yr terms are a good idea the parties are paralysed from any policy by worries about popularity if we had longer terms maybe a govt one day could carry through some actual policy rather than the political gameshow we have.

    • Agree about the 4 yr term, which would mean governments feeling less obliged to perpetually chase positive headlines with cheap fixes and “solutions” to pseudo-problems.

    • Yep, only agree with the four year terms.

      Funny how the Herald is lamenting how that toxic Andrew Tate is a bad influence on teenagers, yet they don’t see the irony that these teenagers should now be able to vote.

      To the media cabal its ‘who is doing the influencing’ that troubles them… Unionized teachers = Good influencers. Successful businessman = bad influencer.

    • USA has a 4 year term, and upper and lower houses, and an unrivalled political game show.
      We need less ‘party’ political power, something that can’t happen under MMP.

  12. Interesting. Definitely support the lowering of the threshold to 3.5%, prisoners being able to vote along with curtailing the coat tailing from winning an electorate. We should keep the three year term for exactly the reasons you have stated above. I’m not sold on 16yo having the vote. Personally I think it should stay at 18, otherwise I would argue we should have 16 for prison, military, gambling etc.

      • I can’t see what the right are so upset aboyf Labour. Haven’t the rich been creaming it off the back of Labour’s policies, or do the right still want to acquire yet more of the country’s wealth?

  13. I see what’s happening, some anonymous panel is attempting to divert the issues away from piss poor governance to the issues of children being able to have their vote on piss poor governance.

    • Yes, classic Ardern-Hipkins material. Can’t or won’t address the country’s real problems. But what they are good for is (1) inventing imaginary problems and pretending to solve them, and (2) creating new problems.

  14. “People aged 16 can already drive, have a firearms licence, and leave school.”
    Which doesn’t mean they understand the implications political policies.

  15. Well make in law that each party must present a 100 week program with timeline, and things to be done on a low budget. While the parties look around for things they can do and be sure about, they can pilot the things that people have been asking for for years. They can settle some of the chronic sores right at the beginning and they will find that the country doesn’t fall apart.

    No to 3.5 % – the Greens show that the smaller parties even with clear need for their policies, can’t be relied on to follow through. I think 4%, or one electorate that also will allow one other MP for that party, and the same for each separate electorate they win. We will change the present set up slightly, but still give them a fighting chance.

    Have a bi-cameral system by giving the 16-18 year olds their own place in the parliamentary system. Not one for each electorate but perhaps a baker’s dozen, They will all stand as individuals for an area they know something about and get in some practice on their own terms. They may show up the nasties from the ‘adult’ parliament and their considered proposals will be considered by and argued over with the Main Parliament. After some practice and projects being furthered we will be surprised at what we can do.

    We won’t have 50/50 of anything but there will be quotas that are largely kept to. and Gender quotas within each quota group eg Pakeha, Maori, Pacifica, Asian. Race will be important as with each goes their own tikanga right! And they have to consider what will be best and acceptable within the polity; some things will not be acceptable to another group and may need altering or not.

    Prisoners to vote yes. But remember we are all prisoners here of our own device! The Eagles had it. It’s true, we are all prisoners of our own perceptions. Some are good, some are so-so and some are horrid. We need to have annual lectures or even bi-annual ennial? throughout the motu and you have to register and go to two at least before you can vote at all. I’m sick of the lamebrains that I am always coming across. They are fine people, but they don’t think, they just have wants and opinions.

    No wonder we haven’t got a country left. We don’t know what we are doing, we have allowed the smart and confident to come here and tell us how some of us can get rich at the expense of the others. Yeah, that’s clever mate. I know so many great people but they think that politics is for driven people having a hobby like building cars etc. Note – thinking and learning politics and working economics will be as hard as that. John Britten died early, but in a blaze of glory. Let’s all be glorious.

  16. Lowering the voting age to 16 isn’t a big deal either way. It’s actually positive in a sense because it allows young people to engage in an active manner in our political system

    Lowering the MMP threshold is a must. Five percent is very high for any minority party to meet, and there’s been less than half a dozen parties that have passed that threshold in many decades.

    A four year parliamentary term would give the party in power adequate time to legislate whereas the current three year parliamentary term does not. I think people do not realise that the number of sitting days per year in parliament is quite low. Additionally the demands in many electorates is quite high. This limits the amount of time our MP’s can legislate to a substantial degree.

  17. This government has nothing to inspire us so they create another diversion for us to get at each other’s throats over. So well done again!
    Labour has had 6 years, imagine the completeness of their transformations if they had eight! No thank you.

  18. The elected dictatorship will implement a four year term but that’s about it.

    When it comes to major recommendations that cost the taxpayer huge sums of money this government tends to ignore most of them like the TWG for example.

    Judith Collins refused to implement the changes put to the public after they voted in favour of reform recommended for MMP because it was not in the National party’s interests to adopt a fairer democratic system.

    We only got MMP after David Lange mistakenly promised a referendum in the July-August 1987 election campaign and the public voted in favour in 1993 after years of neo liberal economics being imposed and FPP governments promising one thing then getting into government and tearing up their manifesto.

    Which of the current political parties will promise to implement these recommendations in the coming campaign.

  19. ” This afternoon, Chris Hipkins said Labour would be presenting its own ideas on the electoral system pre-election. Which makes you wonder what the point in an “independent” review was if the government is just going to ignore it and push its own solutions anyway. It just seems like another abuse of the public’s good faith, and suggests that all of us who submitted to this review wasted our time, again. ”

    “The interesting answers are to the questions that weren’t asked in 2012. The review has recommended lowering the voting age, and a referendum on a four-year term. The first was a foregone conclusion given the Supreme Court ruling. As for the second, its what the review was set up to recommend. But it is good to see the commitment to a referendum, given Labour’s earlier idea that they could just stitch up up a deal with National to impose it by insider fiat. Hopefully the recommendation for a referendum will kill that idea, and it will certainly strengthen the argument that any change without a referendum is fundamentally illegitimate.”


  20. 4 year term yes everything else no .Vote at 16 would mean a permanent left government if you see the school kids strike. 3 .5 cut off would mean a more divided country than we have now as we would finish up having to barter with those on far right eg religious parties like USA or far left who would be more unhinged than the Greens if that is possible .

    • Funny thing is happening Bob . I have noticed the opposition parties no longer hail Australia as better than NZ. because I heard today they are fast approaching a recession with all the trademarks of a global problem post covid etc. Its very strange that NZ right wing parties and commentators think that NZ is immune from such pressures when all our trading partners etc.etc. are actually in this global thing we call the world. This global thing we call the world is facing exactly the same problems as NZ. Just pick up any overseas news site ( with real journalists ) reporting and you may become just a little more worldly and a bit better educated on all things global aka the “world”

    • ” 4 year term yes everything else no .Vote at 16 would mean a permanent left government if you see the school kids strike ”

      That statement is why a four year term should be resisted.

      LINO or the Nasty Natz and their reckless disregard for so many in our country and allow their donors and corporate friends get an additional year to wreak havoc is unacceptable.

      Trevor this country does not elect left governments just pretend ones like the current traitors we have now.

      Remember ” New Labour ”

      A real left government would make you shit your pants.

      Aren’t you lucky you got the neo liberal revolution upheld by people like you.

      Don’t ever become poor , be on a waiting list ( medical or housing ) or need to que at one of our many foodbanks because your work is not worth being paid survivable wages to allow you to eat and pay your rent or ever be able to retire and have to choose between the cost of power and having to eat.

  21. I get the 3 to 4 years – but help me lord if Labour right now had another year.

    The 16 – 17 year olds voting when they cannot buy alcohol, vape purchase legally etc. just seems weird.

    As I have become older and reflected on where I was at in youth – what a shambles that would have been.

    However, I do feel there are more serious teenagers in this area today and full credit to them. But I also like the fact they should concentrate more on standard education first and achieve there.

    If the age was to lower politics should be a subject at school from year 11. Perhaps it is as simple as those who take this as a subject & pass are allowed to vote? With tech this is easily done.

    I would have loved this option as a teenager I would like to think.

    As for lowing the threshold I think this is irrelevant if seats can be won as a better option. We want whole community trust to be preferred before sparse minority opinions about people who might be an MP.

  22. ” I get the 3 to 4 years – but help me lord if Labour right now had another year. ”

    Or the next Nasty Natz ACT corporate coalition !!!

  23. Changes to the donations to political parties should be the highlight of articles, its the biggest problem we have right now yet its not mentioned much, instead you’re making headlines of the less important stuff.


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