WELLINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - The New Zealand government on Friday withdrew a bill that would have allowed sixteen year olds to vote in local government elections if it had passed.

New Zealand's highest court ruled in late 2022 that the country's current voting age of 18 was discriminatory, forcing parliament to discuss whether it should be lowered.

The previous Labour government last year ruled out the possibility of lowering the voting age to 16 for national elections, but had sought to legislate a lower voting age for local government elections. However, this was not passed into law before they were voted out of office late last year.

Local Government Minister Simeon Brown said he had asked that the bill be withdrawn as it did not have the new National Party-led government's support.

"Worrying about how to implement a new voting age regime would be a costly distraction for councils who have enough issues to deal with right now," he said.

Make it 16, the non-partisan organisation campaigning for the voting age to be lowered, said not letting 16 and 17 year olds have a say in their own rights is a "democratic outrage."

"Democracy is when voters choose their politicians, not when politicians choose their voters," they said in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Photo from Reuters