Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Still not their priority

Earlier in the month, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court's ruling that National's prisoner voting ban is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act. And now, the Greens are formally calling for it to be repealed:

Green Party Justice spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman timed the Wednesday call to coincide with the first time women were allowed to vote 125 years ago.

"Today is 125 years since New Zealand women first went to the polls, yet to this day there are New Zealanders still denied from casting their vote", Ghahraman said.

Ghahraman argued that taking the right to vote away from prisoners excluded them from properly engaging in society, which in itself harmed rehabilitation.

"We know that prisoners being disengaged from their communities is an impediment to them being rehabilitated and reintegrating effectively once they are released, which should be the key focus of a system of justice," Ghahraman said.

She believed all prisoners should be able to vote - not just those with short sentences.

(There's a strong argument from JustSpeak here on the issue)

As for the response, in Parliament today the government said that they hadn't even considered the issue and that it wasn't a priority for them. Which tells us everything we need to know. This government is not committed to fundamental human rights, and is quite willing to violate them for political profit. As for what to do about it, the answer is clear: Parliament is clearly unwilling to protect our human rights or obey the Bill of Rights Act. So we should repeal s4 of the BORA, take the job off them, and give it to the courts instead.