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UN stokes voting age debate

In brief
  • The UN calls for the voting age around the world to be lowered.
  • A lower voting age favours the left and is in line with a lot of “progressive” causes favoured by the UN.
  • Isn’t the everyday Kiwi just as well equipped as supposed experts to decide if they think 16 year olds should vote ?

The UN pitches lower voting age

The United Nations has called to lower the voting age worldwide. This is outlined in their policy brief Meaningful Youth Engagement in Policymaking and Decision-making Processes. 

Those in favour of the policy argue involving young people in politics ups engagement and gives fresh perspectives on pressing issues. Those against it say these efforts are just an attempt to increase the left-wing voting pool. There is a lot of research suggesting younger people align more with leftwing progressive policies. 

It’s no wonder the political left covets this group. 

UN stokes voting age debate - Centrist
The UN says to give the vote to young people. Should we listen?

Manufacturing consent

UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasises the role of youth in driving social change. He says involving youth in policy creation and voting can inform critical decisions around governance. 

Many on the right are doubtful young people have enough maturity and experience to make informed decisions around things like voting. That’s why 16 year olds aren’t considered adults by the criminal justice system. In NZ children are not even allowed to stay home by themselves until they are 14.

In New Zealand, the Make It 16 campaign is dedicated to making the voting age 16. They assert that young people deserve a say in decisions affecting them and are using the UN’s alignment to support their movement. 

The UN has become a champion of left-wing causes

The UN was founded for the purpose of maintaining world peace after World War II and has done some good work. But they have also become ardent supporters of many progressive policies like transgender rights, social justice, and climate activism. 

Many governments use UN policy support – or through their many subordinate organisations such as the WHO or IMF – as a means to manufacture consent from their constituents (eg. the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and its effect on co-governance). 

Plenty to criticise

It’s been suggested the UN isn’t always pure of heart. For example, protecting oil-rich Kuwaitis in 1991 but doing little to protect resource-poor Rwandans in 1994.

The UN’s Human Rights Council has been called hypocritical for its inclusion of countries with poor human rights records, which undermines the council’s credibility. 

Former Prime Minister John Key famously took the UN to task over its inaction on Syria. 

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