Arthur Taylor to Govt: Prisoner voting ban undermines our moral authority

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 12 Aug 2019, 11:51AM
Former inmate Arthur Taylor has campaigned to have the voting ban overturned. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Arthur Taylor to Govt: Prisoner voting ban undermines our moral authority

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 12 Aug 2019, 11:51AM

The man who led the charge for prisoner rights from behind bars believes there's public appetite for change.

The Waitangi Tribunal has declared the ban on prisoners voting should be overturned.

It says it disproportionately hurts Maori and breaches the Crown's Treaty obligations.

Late last year, the Supreme Court ruled the ban, while not an invalid law, breaches the Bill of Rights Act.

That case was pushed by notorious former inmate Arthur Taylor.

He told Kate Hawkesby there's a myth that the public doesn't want prisoners to vote.

"That's completely wrong. I travel widely now that I'm out of prison and speak to a heck of a lot of people around the country and I haven't come across one person who supports this ban."

He says for those still doing time, it's about being recognised by the community.

"Cause it's a community they are all going to return to one day, and they want to feel included in it and want to have a say, however minute, in how that community is shaped."

Taylor wants Justice Minister Andrew Little to reverse the law, and has a strong message for him.

"Andrew, you better wake up. This is undermining our moral authority in the world. We;ve now got the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and now the Waitangi Tribunal now telling you that this ban is wrong and unjustified and unsupportable."

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