Daily Archives: September 20, 2011

Legal ages in NZ

Here are the Legal ages in NZ – from the Office of the Commissioner for Children. Does anything strike you as wrong about this?

 6 – are required to be enrolled in and attend school (though can start school earlier, at five)

10 – can be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter

12 – are able to swear an oath if giving evidence in court (children younger than this must only promise to tell the truth in court)

14 – can be left alone without an adult looking after them

– are able to babysit for younger children but only if capable of reasonable supervision and care

– can be prosecuted for any criminal offence

15 – can sit a driving test and obtain a learner’s driver’s licence

16 – can leave home without parents’ consent (but until 17, Child, Youth and Family can send the child home if they believe they are at risk)

– can get married or enter into a civil union with parents’ consent

– can (usually) decide which parent to live with if parents are separated, and decide whether to visit the other

– can not be made to undergo treatment for mental disorders without their consent, unless under a compulsory treatment order

– may be eligible for certain kinds of benefit assistance, e.g. Independent Youth Benefit, Invalids Benefit

– can leave school or be expelled from school (excluded if younger than 16)

– can start full-time work and earn minimum wage (after a period of probation for 16 and 17 year olds)

– can legally consent to sexual intercourse

17 – are heard in the District Court rather than the Youth Court if charged with a criminal offence

18 – can be legally independent of their parents’ guardianship

– can be employed in a position which offers minimum wage

– can open a cheque account, borrow money, or apply for a credit card (subject to different banks’ rules)

– are no longer protected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

– can vote in local body and general elections, and can stand as a candidate for election

– are able to purchase and consume alcohol and cigarettes

– can enter into contracts

20 – are legally classed as an adult, with full capacity to make their own decisions

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