Fruit Loop Still at Large

Sue Bradford is at it again. Having just successfully shepherded through parliament the most unpopular bill of our time, and in so doing making criminals of at least half of adult New Zealanders, she’s drafting a bill to lower the voting age to 16.

Because 16 year-olds are totally mature enough to vote:

“At 16, young people can get married, have children, and be taxed. If we are serious about trying to get young peoples’ voices into the public arena and heard in places of power, they should be allowed to vote.”

I think that’s fairly hilarious. Once again, she manages to demonstrate a lack of touch with reality. 16 year olds need parental consent to be married. The ability to have children doesn’t exactly demonstrate a strong grasp of political savvy, not to mention that it’s genetic anyway. Also worthy of mention is that we tax everyone. Five year olds get taxed on their savings – should they vote too?

Better yet, this from a party that has successfully promoted and passed a bill regulating what food can be served in school tuck shops. So, they don’t trust them to choose healthy food on their own, but they’re responsible enough to vote?

But that’s different! Kid’s can’t be expected to fight through all that saturation advertising to make an informed decision on what actually is a healthy food! They’re victims!

How do you expect them to decipher political spin then? 

Aside from the initial shock and controversy this stirs up, I think the debate on this is going to be interesting. A few nations do have their voting ages set at 16, among them apparently Brazil and, as of last week, Austria.

The really interesting part, to me anyway, is that Bradford is tying compulsory Civic Education in schools into the bill. In principal that is actually something I would consider voting for. New Zealanders are tremendously under-informed on how our parliament works. I myself am pretty highly educated, with slightly more than a passing interest in politics, and I would say that I know very little on this subject.

There is bound to be some fierce debate around Civic Education. A lot of people are going to want politics kept out of school. I tend to agree with that, but I think as long as the syllabus focuses on the mechanisms of parliament rather than the parties then I think it’s fine.

I think that one possibly unnoticed benefit would be that it would open up young people more to the idea of a career in politics. This can only be good for the country as I believe that if a larger pool of candidates is available for election, that gives a likelihood of more gifted people in parliament. Who would argue that’s a bad thing?

It would certainly make it less likely that people like Bradford (who is in parliament on the Greens’ list vote, I believe) would get in.

All the more reason that the Greens piss me off. Again, an idea I would vote for teamed with something I would never permit. They just keep doing this to me.

If they would just get in touch with reality and realistically try and find common ground with both sides of the house they could really advance their aims. Instead they believe that they can only realise their objectives through regulation, thus ruling out any chance of working with National, leaving pretty much only Labour. No wonder Labour takes them for granted.

I would vote for them if I thought they might try and impliment their policies through sensible financial policies, rather than making lots of complicated rules with high compliance costs.

Seen on the Herald website:

Great idea, my only concern is, now I can’t smack them, how do I ensure they don’t vote for the fruit loops?”

I think that about sums it up.



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