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


2 responses to “Legal ages in NZ

  1. Driving age should be at least 16
    So should Voting Age

  2. I’ve never understood why the age of consent and the age at which a person can purchase pornography/go in to sex shops are different. Odd!

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