Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Denial of Maori Prisoner Voting Rights Breaches Treaty

Denial of Maori Prisoner Voting Rights Breaches Treaty of Waitangi

13th June 2014

In its latest blog, Rethinking Crime and Punishment discusses ‘Prison lawyer’ Arthur Taylor’s claim to the High Court that the legislation denying prisoners the right to vote, is not only a breach of the Bill of Rights, but of Article Three of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Kim Workman points out that at the time the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010, the Attorney General had already advised Parliament that the legislation was unjustifiably inconsistent with the electoral rights affirmed by s 12 of the Bill of Rights Act. There was however, no consideration of its impact on Article Three of the Treaty of Waitangi, which extends to Maori all the rights and privileges of British Subjects.

“By denying prisoners the right to vote, Maori prisoners are not only also denied the right to vote, but are disproportionately disadvantaged. Maori are six times more likely than non-Maori to end up in prison, and therefore six times more likely to be deprived of the right to vote.”

“Maori are imprisoned at a rate of around 700 per 100,000, just under the general imprisonment rate in the USA. When imprisonment rates of an ethnic group reach that level, then the law operates to shift inequality into the political process, causing the disproportionate denial of the right to vote to Maori, and to a lesser extent Pacific peoples.”

“The outcome is that at the next general election about 4,300 Maori will be denied the right to vote. Given that we have a Maori Electoral Roll, seven Maori electoraties, and two parties with direct appeal to Maori voters, this restriction could impact on the election results. In the Taitokerau Maori seat, which covers Northland and West Auckland, there will be a close call between Internet- Mana’s Hone Harawira and the Labour Party’s Kelvin Davis. Around 22% of Maori in prison identify as coming from Ngapuhi and Te Taitokerau, and a one-quarter of all Maori live in the Auckland region.”

“It is possible that the government’s decision to deny Maori prisoners voting rights, could swing the result in either direction. If that happens, it could lead to legal proceedings about the lawfulness of the result, given that a significant number of Maori voters have been denied a treaty right.”

“We can but hope that the High Court finds a way of making a determination in this matter; hopefully before the election.”

Reference: http://blog.rethinking.org.nz/2014/06/the-prisoners-right-to-vote-enter.html

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

In the end, Mr Pragmatic calmly read the signs of impending defeat and went out on his own terms. You could use any number of clichés to describe Peter Dunne’s exit from Parliament.

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>

ALSO:

Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>

ALSO:

Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election