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

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment.

Mr Sooden is deeply concerned about the Government’s decision to deploy the NZDF to Iraq. He believes the Government has not provided NZers with an adequate justification for an NZDF presence in Iraq: “When I’ve made requests for official information that might corroborate the Government’s rationale for the deployment, they have refused, mainly on the grounds of protecting national security.” More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

143 Troops, Possible SAS Deployment, Legalities Unsorted: PM’s Statement On ISIL

Mr Speaker, today I am announcing to the House the Government’s decisions about our contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL... More>>

ALSO:

Liu Saga: PM's Dinner With Controversial Donor

John Key must front up to New Zealand and say what he discussed with Donghua Liu when the disgraced businessman paid $25,000 for the Prime Minister to come to dinner at his Remuera home, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Roads: National MP 'Concerned' At Overseas Driver Crashes

Waitaki MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism Jacqui Dean said she was concerned at the number of fatal crashes involving overseas licence holders and she really felt that the time had come for more to be done. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: Parole Bill Passes

A bill reducing parole hearings deemed to be unnecessary has passed. The third reading of the Parole Amendment Bill was completed by 104 to 16 with the Greens and Maori Party opposed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news