Sunday, June 27, 2010

A former National Party logoImage via Wikipedia
Maori prisoners will be hit most by a bill before NZ Parliament to remove their  right to vote... 

Maori prisoners will be hit most by a bill being introduced to the NZ Parliament to remove the right of prison inmatesto vote.

National MP Paul Quinn, himself a Maori from Ngati Awa, admits his private member's bill aimed at taking the vote away from people in prison will disproportionately affect Maori.

Currently only prisoners serving a three-year sentence or longer are barred from voting.

Mr Quinn's Electoral Disqualification of Convicted Prisoners Bill would remove the right to vote from all inmates on election day.

He told Waatea News the fact that one in two males and almost two-thirds of female prisoners are Maori didn't affect his thinking.

Before offenders get their first prison sentence, Mr Quinn says, statistics show 80% will have been convicted at least 10 times.

The bill is currently before the Law and Order Select Committee.

KR's Opinion:

This could actually create some debate about whether prison inmates should have te right to vote anyway? Should they in my opinion?  Even a social democrat like myself would find it difficult to justify; but what is the real reason behind this decision to remove the right of prison inmates to vote, after the National Party has always supported it? Is ths the thin edge of the philosophical wedge, a secret agenda to undermine democracy in New Zealand? Will they reconsider the right for, say, intellectually, and mentally ill people who are institutionalised  to also lose the right to vote too?

Acknowledgements: © 2010 Radio New Zealand/ Peter Petterson

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