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

TV3 Videos: Key's Flip-Flop Over Whale Oil Texts | Slater
Reaction: Greens | More
Dim-Post Link: The Very Odd Slightly Left Of Centre

Gordon Campbell: On Government Arrogance

Right now, National is ramming anti-terrorism measures through Parliament. This legislation will grant the SIS the power to carry out 48 hour bouts of surveillance on anyone without a warrant, and will bestow on government the power to unilaterally revoke anyone’s passports and thus deny them the freedom to travel.

Ludicrously, the public has been given exactly one day to make submissions on these major infringements of their civil liberties. Despite Finlayson’s misleading signals on RNZ that these are only stopgaps until next year’s full review of our security laws, the measures in question will not, in fact, expire until 2018.

Why the insane rush? Good question. More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Key Texts With Whale Oil Released: PM Can’t Be Trusted Over Dirty Politics Defence - Greens

John Key’s answers to questions about dirty politics can’t be trusted, after he was forced to admit that he had misled journalists and Parliament about contact with attack blogger Cameron Slater, said the Green Party today.. More>>

ALSO:

Temporary Release Crackdown Continues: Corrections Review Of Phillip Smith Case

“The review by Corrections’ Chief Custodial Officer reveals that the plan for Smith’s series of temporary releases was overly ambitious and misinformed. He’s a highly manipulative and deceptive person who although technically eligible, should not have been considered for temporary release." More>>

ALSO:

White Ribbon Day: Govt Resumes Sexual Violence Trial Proceedings Work

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked the Law Commission to resume work on proposals for better supporting victims of sexual violence through the criminal process. The Law Commission will revisit its previous work on alternative pre-trial and trial processes to identify options for improving complainants’ experience in court. More>>

ALSO:

"New Faces, Wise Heads": Andrew Little Announces New Labour Line Up

Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Rick Ellis As Te Papa’s New CEO

The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial goals as he did at TVNZ, while similarly neglecting the serious cultural side of his mandate. More>>

Passport Cancellation, Surveillance: Draft 'Foreign Fighters Legislation' Released

The final draft of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill contains proposals previously announced by Mr Key in a major national security speech earlier this month. More>>

ALSO:

Related

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news