Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Prison reform group wants debate on prisoners' right to vote

Prison reform group wants debate on prisoners' right to vote

Matthew Theunissen, Reporter

A prison reform group wants to have a public debate on prisoners' right to vote, after the Supreme Court ruled it is a right of all New Zealanders.

orange election
mascot in prison

Scoop Image: Lyndon Hood

The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner's right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights.

The government said the issue was not a priority, but Howard League for Penal Reform spokesperson Christine McCarthy said the court's decision should put the issue on the agenda.

"What is so dangerous about prisoners voting? The only reason people are put in prison is - supposedly - about safety to the community.

"So it would have to be argued, what is so unsafe about allowing prisoners to exercise a democratic right?"

The former National government banned all prisoners from voting in 2010. Before then, inmates were allowed to vote if they were incarcerated for less than three years.

This was successfully challenged in court by five inmates, including career criminal and jailhouse lawyer Arthur Taylor, in the High Court.

The Attorney-General has now twice failed to overturn that ruling in both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

However, the declaration did not require Parliament to change the law.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said the coalition government was not looking to restore voting for prisoners any time soon.

He said he personally disagreed with the ban, but the government as a whole had yet to take a position.

"It's not that much of a priority.

"We haven't even had a discussion about that and it would be wrong for me to express any view on behalf of the government about it."

Ministers were unlikely to consider the issue for at least a year.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Saudi Oil Refinery Crisis

So the US and the Saudis claim to have credible evidence that those Weapons of Oil Destruction came from Iran, their current bogey now that Saddam Hussein is no longer available. Evidently, the world has learned nothing from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when dodgy US intel was wheeled out to justify the invasion of Iraq, thereby giving birth to ISIS and causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. More>>

ALSO:

Veronika Meduna on The Dig: Kaitiakitanga - Seeing Nature As Your Elder

The intricate interconnections between climate change and biodiversity loss, and how this disruption impacts Māori in particular. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On China And Hong Kong (And Boris)

In the circumstances, yesterday’s move by Lam to scrap – rather than merely suspend – the hated extradition law that first triggered the protests three months ago, seems like the least she can do. It may also be too little, too late. More>>

ALSO:

Dave Hansford on The Dig: Whose Biodiversity Is It Anyway?

The DOC-led draft Biodiversity Strategy seeks a “shared vision.” But there are more values and views around wildlife than there are species. How can we hope to agree on the shape of Aotearoa’s future biota? More>>

ALSO:

There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction… These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other. Read on The Dig>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog