More changes needed to ensure fewer cases like Teina Pora’s

Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in compensation is a sorely-needed acknowledgment of Pora’s suffering. It’s also typical of this government’s tendency […]

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Prisoner voting disqualification and the Bill of Rights Act

In 2010, National rammed the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill through Parliament. Paul Quinn’s Member’s Bill existed because Paul Quinn thought anyone who’d been imprisoned was a serious offender, and serious offenders had ‘forfeited’ their right to vote. National and ACT consistently voted for it because they all thought the same. Since then, […]

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Parole and ‘surviving the first year’

“Intensive psychological treatment and early release to parole is far more effective at reducing reoffending among high risk prisoners than serving out the full prison sentence.” That’s reportedly the finding of Surviving the First Year, a recently-released study into Corrections’ STURP initiative conducted by Victoria University of Wellington psychology professor Devon Polaschek. This Stuff article […]

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Dealing With The Gap: Part five of five on our ‘justice gap’ crisis

In 2013, Julie Macfarlane, a Canadian law professor, conducted a study into self-represented litigants. Interviewing some 280 self-represented litigants, she was struck by “how traumatised people are by the experiences they’re having, how many lives are getting wrecked, how much anger and frustration is out there.” There’s no doubt that the symptoms of the ‘justice […]

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Walking the Labyrinth: Part three of five on the ‘justice gap’ crisis

So why are so many people opting for self-representation? What does this mean for them, and for our justice system? Being a Self-Represented Litigant Self-representation seems appealing on the face of it. Theoretically, it gives the litigant total control over the part they play in proceedings, and it keeps their costs down. Most fundamentally, it […]

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Paying for Justice: Part two of five on the ‘justice gap’ crisis

Yesterday, I wrote about the ‘justice gap’ – the inevitable consequence of a ‘user pays’ justice system that abandons those people most vulnerable to exploitation. The most obvious symptom of this is the rising number of self-represented litigants: take the figures in yesterday’s post, evidence of a grim problem in need of urgent attention. The […]

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Clear signal NZ’s universities need more funding

The rankings for universities around the world were released today, with disappointing results for NZ’s universities. Three out of five of our institutions dropped down the rankings from last year, with the remaining two holding their position. Universities New Zealand, while trying to emphasise the positive – that our universities still rank in the top […]

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Academic Freedom or Free Market?

The Minister for Tertiary Education seems determined to see our universities and wananga reduced to organisations whose purpose it is to sell a commodity called education to ‘consumers’ whose primary relationship with such organisations will be a  commercial one. The National Government today stayed true to their destructive agenda for the tertiary sector,  announcing their […]

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