Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Forget about voting, old age is time to relax

Why should the elderly decide a future they won't be here to see?
Many older people believe the world was better when they were younger. It wasn't. Photo / Getty Images
Many older people believe the world was better when they were younger. It wasn't. Photo / Getty Images

Should old people be allowed to vote?

Unsurprisingly the Brexit vote was carried by older people. Only 19 per cent of those 18-24 wanted to leave. Yet the young will have to live with the result for the longest time. Lumped for life with a decision largely made by pensioners. Older voters specialise in looking back instead of forward. So why should those on their way out decide a future they won't be around to see?

The same thing is happening here. There are clear changes NZ needs to make if we are to thrive in the modern world. Many of these changes are being stalled because politicians must appease baby boomers to survive.

If you're under 50, why the hell are you paying for Super you will never get yourself? Why aren't we increasing the age of retirement? Why is there no means testing on pensions? Why is there no movement on our property issues? Simple. There's lots of old people, they love to vote and backing changes they don't like is electoral suicide.

You can't blame the elderly for why they vote. We all vote selfishly. But it becomes unfair when the demographics shift so far that young voters are drowned out. At 65 a New Zealander has been voting for 47 years, surely that's enough time to get your point across.

I mean no disrespect to older people. I hope to be elderly myself one day. My dad for example is a top older bloke. My mum was awesome. Peter Williams is a good dude. I have a lot of time for Judy Bailey, Dame Cath Tizard, Colin and Verna Meads, Pita Sharples, Sir Murray Halberg, Professor Sir Lloyd Geering, John Reid, "Mystery" Morrison, Sam Hunt, Ray Woolf, Dougal Stevenson and Gary McCormick (to name a few great Kiwis). There are so many amazing people over 65 in this country. I just don't want them voting any more.

Old age is a time to relax. You deserve a rest at 70. Let the young people who live for the future mould that future. When I am old I hope I am brave enough to hand power over without a fight.

The world is a terrifyingly confusing place when you're elderly. You're being left behind. When you're young you jump up stairs two steps at a time. When you're old you stand at the top trembling. Unfortunately fear can lead to judgmentalism and bigotry. Which leads to illogical positions.

I mean no disrespect to older people. I hope to be elderly myself one day ... I just don't want them voting any more.

Many older people believe the world was better when they were younger. It wasn't. From where I sit, the New Zealand of the '60s and '70s was considerably more racist, violent, homophobic and sexist than today. Worse than that it was boring. It was a place of few options and fewer ideas. New Zealand operated 15 years behind the rest of the western world until the mid-80s. Are these the golden years people long for when they ring talkback and say the nation is going to hell in a hand basket? Do they really want to return to the meat and two veges islands we once were?

In the end if you're over 65 and you don't like the way things turned out. It's your fault. You made things this way, through your voting, your actions and your inactions.

Baby-boomer retirement is the biggest financial hurdle facing the country. It currently accounts for 16 per cent of core crown revenue.

Oldies say they paid taxes their whole lives and deserve a pay day. If that's the case, where is all that money? If you saved it, where is it? Why does so much of our tax today go to Super? The answer is clear. All the money has gone. Boomers and the Governments they voted in have already spent it on themselves. It was a massive, short-sighted, generational cock-up. Hopefully the current tax-paying population will be more responsible with their futures. Unfortunately much of the money we should be saving for our futures is being spent on covering a generation who voted to put nothing aside.

Young, old, men, women and children, we are all in this together. We love our seniors dearly. We should cherish them, honour them and look after them. Listen to their stories and learn. But surely it's time to remove their right to vote. To say, "thanks granddad, you had your go, let's see what we can do". Obviously, this will never happen. If we had a referendum, the baby boomers wouldn't support it and young people wouldn't bother voting. Thoughts?

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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