“The Supreme Court has ruled that the current law undermines the fundamental right of all people to vote in a democracy. We agree, and we are calling on Parliament to do the right thing and change it" said JustSpeak Director Tania Sawicki Mead.
“We’ve spent a year celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, but thousands of women and men serving time in prison have been denied the right to vote.
“We all want people who have been sentenced to prison to be able to return to their communities with a better chance of living good lives. Denying them the right to have a say in our democracy contradicts that.
“Disenfranchising prisoners creates a group of people who are subject to the laws, and punished under them, but have no input in their creation, alteration, or operation.
“Because our justice system disproportionately imprisons Māori, the current law has the biggest impact on Māori whānau, who are already underrepresented in voter turnout.
“Like many New Zealanders we are proud of our history as the first country in the world to recognise that everyone deserves the right to vote. Our right to determine who govern us is fundamental", said Ms Sawicki Mead.
JustSpeak is launching a campaign in support of this cause, starting with a petition which can be found here - https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/make-voting-a-right-for-all
We are pleased to also have the support of Amnesty International and the Howard League Wellington Branch in this campaign.