Not allowing prisoners to vote is being labelled a dangerous precedent, with claims it could be extended to other groups considered unfavourable. Prisoner Arthur Taylor is representing himself in the High Court at Auckland today, arguing Prime Minister John Key shouldn’t have been elected in Helensville, as Auckland Prison inmates were denied their right to vote. Taylor says a 2010 amendment to the law which stopped them voting is dangerous, as parliamentarians shouldn’t decide who can and can’t elect them. He said there was no telling who the amendment could be extended to, alleging refugees, beneficiaries, or those who earn less than $28,000 could all be on the list.
We’re in the final few days of an election campaign that has had it all – comedy, conspiracy and claims of dirty politics – though none of it has dented New Zealand National Prime Minister John Key’s chances of winning a third term in power. The predictions market puts 80% odds on a National prime minister after this Saturday’s election. For those tuning in late to what has been a dramatic and sometimes bizarre campaign, here’s just a taste of what you’ve missed. A German internet entrepreneur wanted for extradition by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Kim Dotcom, blows NZ$3.5 million to set up a political party with the hope of taking down the Prime Minister. He flies in Pulitzer prize-winner Glenn Greenwald to allege that the NZ government conducts mass cyber-surveillance of its citizens. Unable to stand for office himself as he isn’t a citizen, Dotcom makes a pre-electoral pact with a Maori MP (Hone Harawira, Mana Party) to give his Internet Party something more than a nag’s chance. Meanwhile, an investigative journalist unleashes scandal after scandal by publishing hacked emails from the right-wing blogger behind a site called Whale Oil.
New Zealand: Serious review to follow close result in New Zealand Mixed-member proportional vote | Stuff.co.nz
The majority of New Zealand has again thrown its support behind MMP, but the close result will mean a serious review by the Electoral Commission. As well as casting the usual party and electorate votes on Saturday, voters were also asked if they thought the country should keep MMP or, if not, what alternative system they would prefer.
With only 290,000 advance votes so far counted, a total of 53.7 per cent back sticking with the mixed member proportional system, while 42.6 per cent said they wanted a change. It could take a further two weeks to count all votes.
The inner workings of the electoral system were in full effect on Saturday night. National won almost half the seats in Parliament, but the party’s lack of a substantial coalition partner means it still needs the support of UnitedFuture, ACT and the Maori Party to form a comfortable majority.
A Victoria University political scientist says there could be a case for an MP representing Maori living in Australia. Maria Bargh says 110,000 Maori live across the Tasman, but they tend not to vote in either country.
She says one of the reasons she’s doing a survey of their political behaviour is to generate some debate on how those people can be represented.