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March 12, 2018 | by  | in News |
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The Party Line

In 2010, prisoners were stripped of the right to vote if they were incarcerated during the time of a general election. The High Court has since deemed this amendment incompatible with our own Bill of Rights Act. With this in mind, what is your party’s position on prisoner voting rights?

Labour at Vic

The right for prisoners to vote was taken away in 2010 by the National Party – Labour wholeheartedly disagrees with this action. It is a human right in New Zealand to have the right to vote, and in no way is taking this human right away legal or morally sound. Democracy is about ensuring that everyone has the ability to have their voice heard, and this action by the National Party does not emulate the democratic system we value in New Zealand.

Vic Nats

The Young Nats stand by the National Party’s policy on this issue. The National Party lead a social investment approach to prisoner rehabilitation and crime prevention. These policies saw funds invested in local community programs, and organisations which supported individuals who were seen as a high risk of incarceration. The social investment approach is a cornerstone of the National Party’s policy platform and one that we hope the coalition government will continue.

– Grahame Woods

Young Greens

We know and have known for quite some time that denying prisoners the right to vote violates not only their Human Rights, but the Bill of Rights Act. So the answer to this is simple, we support the human rights of all citizens. The Green Party has always been unequivocal on that. Denying human rights to individuals contradicts the concept of human rights being inalienable. They are applicable to all, at all times. Irrespective of the crime a person has committed, denying them human rights further alienates them from society, when the goal should be rehabilitation and reintegration, so they commit no further crime – but that’s for another Salient column. This is a prime example of why we need to strengthen our Bill of Rights Act, and the protections it provides for all in Aotearoa. This specific piece of legislation that was brought to you by the last National Government, still exists as part of our legal framework irrespective of the violation of the Bill of Rights Act. (Thanks Parliamentary Supremacy – again, for another column) Justice Minister, the Honourable Andrew Little, is beginning work in this area. I want to thank the Minister for his mahi and for his consultative work with our Justice Spokesperson, Golriz Ghahraman.

– Max Tweedie

Young ACT

ACT wants prisoners to regain their ability to vote. We believe the prison population is too high and support measures to reduce the alarming rate of re-offending. At the last election, ACT proposed reducing the prison sentences of inmates if they complete literacy, numeracy, job-readiness and driver licensing courses. Fundamentally, prisoners need positive incentives to become productive law-abiding citizens.

– Michael Warren

Insights from my Dad

Dad couldn’t get back to me on the Party Line question this week, he’s been away fishing “in the hills”.

– News Ed. Sash

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