Government overturning complete ban on prisoner voting a win for equality: Green Party

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party welcome the Government lifting a complete ban imposed by the previous National Government that stopped people in prison from casting a vote during elections.

People in prison who are serving sentences of less than three years will be able to vote, and Corrections will also work to ensure New Zealanders are re-enrolled when they are released.

“New Zealand should be a place where no matter your circumstances you have a right to cast a vote”, Green Party Electoral Issues and Justice spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said today.

“Considering our proud history fighting for the women’s right to vote, I think many would be shocked to hear that right now incarcerated New Zealanders, predominantly Māori, are deprived of this basic liberty.

“Our justice system must help rehabilitation and safe reintegration of those in prison back into communities. We know any measure that strips human rights or disconnects people from society undermines those important aims.

“We have a long way to go when it comes to ensuring completely equal access to democracy but this is a really good start. It begins to unwind the damage done by the previous governments.

“It is particularly good that Corrections will work to ensure re-enrolment when people leave prison. This shows engagement back into society and will assist with community reintegration.

“The Green Party was the only party to prioritise lifting this draconian ban this term. I am really proud that as part of this Government, we’re starting to ensure greater equality for New Zealanders who wish to engage in the democracy of their country”.

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