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Commission backs call to allow prisoner voting

Graphic: External shot of prison, New Zealand

Chief Commissioner Paul Hunt said prison should be about rehabilitation and reengagement, not disenfranchisement.

The Human Rights Commission has applauded the Waitangi Tribunal's call to repeal the law banning prisoners from voting.

Chief Commissioner Paul Hunt says prison is about rehabilitation and reengagement, not disenfranchisement.

"We don't want people to turn their backs on society, we want to encourage everyone to engage positively, and that includes participating in our democratic processes."

"We also see that the impact of the ban continues to persist following release from prison on the individual, their family and their community."

The Tribunal's findings and recommendations echo the Commission's submissions to the Urgent Inquiry in May, Mr Hunt said.

"We see that the law disproportionately affects Māori and this not only breaches Māori rights under the Treaty of Waitangi but also raises concerns under our international human rights obligations," he said.

The Commission supports the Tribunal's recommendation to repeal the current law and engage in a process to encourage re-enrolment before the next general election.

Date: 12 August 2019

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission


Image credits

  1. External shot of prison, New Zealand - APF