The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union is urging the Government to halt its non-essential legislative agenda, including the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Bill, until the worst of COVID-19 has passed.
Taxpayers' Union spokesperson Islay Aitchison says, "This Bill allows some prisoners to vote — that makes it a constitutional issue. How could it possibly receive adequate scrutiny while the New Zealand public is distracted by one of its biggest health crises in history?"
"Worse still, the Bill is only before Select Committee for two months. Right now, the Ministry of Justice is less available to provide support and a portion of our media is unable to publish. It will also be impossible for many people to travel to Wellington and appear before the Committee."
"When the Government refused to extend the Select Committee deadline for the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill, we criticised the lack of transparency and public access. This example is even worse."
"New Zealanders deserve transparency from those who govern them, and the Government is putting that at risk by continuing to pursue its political agenda. It should abide by its own advice and only do work that is absolutely essential at this time. Rushing constitutional change certainly isn't."