May 20, 2019
Prison vote ban attack on Māori rights
The Waitangi Tribunal has been hearing evidence today on a claim about Māori prisoners’ voting rights.
Retired probation officer Tom Hemopo, who lodged a claim about the crown’s failure to address Māori reoffending, says the blanket prisoner voting ban discriminates against Māori and is a breach of their tino rangatiratanga and right to participate in the Māori Electoral voting process.
He says in one in every 142 Māori are in prison as opposed to one in every 808 non-Māori.
The prisoner ban is one of many racist pieces of legislation in this country that denies Māori the right to participate in making decisions about their future.
Former ACT MP Donna Awatere Huata says racism operates at many levels in New Zealand, and the ban and similar legislation has taken away Māori people’s right to vote since the 1850s.
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