OPINION: The peculiar ages of man (and woman)

Below is a guide describing what you are allowed to do as you attain different ages:

At 5 you can enrol in a state school.

At 6 you must have started school.

At 10 you can be charged with murder or manslaughter.

At 12 you can be charged with certain other very serious criminal offences.

At 14 you can be left at home alone/ can babysit children/can be prosecuted for any criminal offence.

At 15 you can leave school.

At 16 you can sit a driving test and get your learner licence/can leave home /can get married or enter a civil union with your parents’ consent / can decide which parent you want to live with if your parents split up /can agree to, or refuse, medical treatment / can leave school /can work full-time / can be expelled from school/ can apply for certain benefits / can apply for a firearms licence /can legally consent to have sex / your parents can’t change your name / if you are married or in a civil union you can change your name and /or make a will / you are entitled to the adult minimum wage/ you can apply for an adult passport/ you can fly a plane solo.

At 17 you can join the Navy, the Army, or the Air Force / you can apply to join the Police/ you will be treated as an adult by the criminal justice system.

At 18 your parents or legal guardian are no longer responsible for you/ you can get married or enter a civil union / you can make a will /you are no longer entitled to free dental care/ you can buy fireworks, alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco / you can be employed as a bar person or in a liquor store/ you can drink alcohol in a pub or a licensed restaurant /you can apply for many types of income support / you can apply to your bank for a cheque account, credit card and a loan / you are fully bound by any contract you enter into / you can place bets at the TAB or a racecourse, or buy Instant Kiwi tickets / you can vote in national and local authority elections and stand as a candidate / you can be called in for jury service/you can change your name.

At 19 if you are adopted you can place a veto on information about you so that your birth parents can’t contact you.

At 20 you have reached the age of majority and have all the rights and responsibilities of an adult.

If you are adopted you can apply to Births, Deaths and Marriages for a copy of your birth certificate to find the names of your birth parents / you can apply to adopt a child who is related to you / you can gamble or work in a casino /you are allowed to have small amounts of alcohol in your system when you are driving a vehicle.

At 25 you can apply to adopt a child who is not related to you, and who is at least 20 years younger than you

  • Solutions editorial has been compiled by Vani, and is a regular column from the Pakuranga Citizens Advice Bureau. Visit us at Library Building, Pakuranga, Phone 576 8331 and at Botany Citizens Advice Bureau, rear Food Court Entrance, Botany Town Centre, Phone 271 5382 or 0800 267 222 for free, confidential and informative help.