Parties self-interested on voting age: prof

It is important not to listen to political parties when it comes to the issue of lowering the voting age in general elections, a University of Otago professor says.

It comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government would draft legislation changes for the issue.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled the current voting age of 18 was discriminatory and inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act.

Ms Ardern has voiced her support for the decision, while the National Party has argued against the move.

Politics professor Janine Hayward said there was "not much point" listening to the politics pushed by parties, as they would all advocate for whatever move would better their position.

"They’re all so self-interested in this," Prof Hayward said.

There was a fairly strong tradition of MPs not commenting on the decisions of the Supreme Court and it was "not a great precedent to set".

While she did not think the issue would get to the stage of referendum, it was important to reflect on how essential voting rights were.

Any change in electoral law requires 75% of parliamentary support.

Making the change for local body elections only requires 50% of parliamentary support.

Ms Ardern said yesterday the Government had not ruled out tackling local body elections separately.