Parliament could be criticised for blocking prisoners' votes

Published: 9:57AM Thursday August 28, 2014 Source: ONE News

Parliament could be criticised by the High Court for preventing prisoners from voting.

Prisoner Arthur William Taylor is taking the Government to court over the issue of prisoners voting rights.

He's requesting that the election be delayed until after the Waitangi Tribunal has made a decision.

"I think he has every chance of getting the High Court to declare the act is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights," Kim Workman from Re-Thinking Crime and Punishment says.

Taylor is targeting a 2010 decision by Parliament which prevents all prisoners from voting. Previously the ban was only for those serving more three years.

"The Attorney General reported to Parliament in 2010 that this is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights and shouldn't proceed, and his advice was ignored," says Mr Workman.

"What can happen is the High Court can make a declaration of inconsistency, which is really a criticism of Parliament, saying they have exceeded their powers, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

"That would put a lot of pressure on Parliament not only nationally but internationally to rectify that and withdraw that legalisation."

Thomas' case is in the High Court today.