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Title: A few questions with Kelly Ellis Credit: Craig Young Features Tuesday 8th April 2014 - 9:13am1396905180 Article: 14880 Rights
 
Politics and religion writer Craig Young throws a few questions to Labour's Whangarei candidate Kelly Ellis, a transgender rights campaigner and lawyer. In your view, what are the major issues facing the people of your electorate and Northland as a whole? Poverty is the greatest issue. That comes mainly from a lack of work or low wages. If we create jobs by - for example - not exporting whole logs, but adding value here, this will make a huge difference to people in the North. You've been particularly involved with transgender prisoners rights issues. What about the absence of rehabilitation resources for both trans women and ciswomen within the criminal justice system? Lack of resources for rehabilitation affects most prisoners who emerge from jail regardless of their gender. If we have a value-added high wage economy with a fairer tax system, people will be less likely to fall into crime and will more easily be able to rehabilitate should they go to jail. At the moment with the job market being so tight, it's a real struggle for a former prisoner to find work. A more targeted rehabilitative approach on a reduced prison population is what I'd like to see. Which eventual Cabinet position would you prefer- Minister of Justice or Cabinet Minister? With my background as a criminal and human rights lawyer, I have a real interest in justice and corrections. But I'm not looking too far ahead. I might have some good qualifications, but I'm a political novice and am not looking beyond the election at this stage. Do you support a written constitution for New Zealand, whether a Canadian style Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or an entrenched Bill of Rights? I guess I'm in favour of an entrenched Bill of Rights Act. We need to have some more readily enforceable standard rather than the continual watering-down of rights we've seen in the last 20 years. Have there been any subsequent Equal Justice Project developments on hormone access and treatment for transitioning prisoners? Not yet, but it's the next thing I'd like to work on with the EJP. This is a clear example of where the Bill of Rights Act is observed more in the breach than anything else. One of my biggest problems is that I have limited time for political activity and, obviously, I've never had greater demands on it. This current project - getting into Parliament - is about gaining the influence needed to really start the pushback on issues like this. Are you aware of any other transgender nominees for electoral candidate status in any other party? No, but if there are any, I'd love to meet them! Craig Young - 8th April 2014    
 
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