Mike Yardley: The Electoral Law review is borne out of shameless self-interest

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Oct 2021, 1:30PM
Kris Faafoi. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Kris Faafoi. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Mike Yardley: The Electoral Law review is borne out of shameless self-interest

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Oct 2021, 1:30PM

I was pleasantly surprised that Stuart Nash and Mark Mitchell were in lock-step as to the Electoral Law review. 

The three biggies? The voting age, the parliamentary term and the coat-tailing rule.

That’s the rule that rewards tiddler parties who win an electorate seat with bonus list MPs, even if their party is under five per cent. Nash and Mitchell want the coat-tailing ditched. So do I. A ludicrous indulgence of a rule that demeans MMP.

Just look at ACT. The power of the well-earned party vote completely negates the need to prop up niche parties with backdoor bonus MPs. 

And switching up the length of the term, from three to four years, seems inevitable.

But it's the voting age that’s the most politically charged. Some Labour Party shills will be miffed that Nash wouldn’t have a bar of lowering the age to sweet sixteen. 

Here’s the thing. This lefty crusade is borne out of shameless self-interest.

Some of its cheerleaders have been very two-faced. 

Just look at the Children’s Commissioner. As Principal Youth Court Judge, Andrew Becroft was a staunch campaigner for extending the age of the Youth Court’s jurisdiction from 16, all the way to 18. And he was successful.

Until you turn 18, young offenders fall under the Youth Court, not the adult courts. 

But now he wants these young people, to be treated like adults, with fully-fledged voting rights at sixteen. He says we have seen the thoughtfulness young people bring to ending racism and tackling the climate crisis. Unleash the Gretas.

Becroft says the right to vote would ensure young people are heard.

If you apply that logic, why stop at sixteen? Why not six?

When I was sixteen I was stimulated by politics.  Most of my mates thought that was weird. And it was. But like them, I also overdosed on idealism. I was impulsive and easily seduced by free stuff.

And Just look at how tertiary students have been bribed by politicians.

How many sixteen-year-olds are taxpayers?  Surely that should be a key qualifying factor in voting.

Lowering the age is not some virtuous mission. It’s a lefty power grab.