Time for a change – Selecting a Governor-General for all New Zealanders

Metiria-Governor-Generals-House

We’re calling for a change to the way that Governor-Generals are selected. At the moment the Prime Minister decides, without needing to consult with any other party in parliament. This is a pretty old fashioned system that doesn’t reflect the modern MMP environment. It’s hard to see why we shouldn’t have a new, more democratic […]

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Family violence new measurement raises concerns

Yesterday the Minister of Justice announced a new better public service target to reduce family violence. She has created two new supporting measures of violent crime namely “Violent offences in private dwellings (a proxy for family violence); and Violent offences in public places.” I applaud the Ministers focus on family violence but I have two […]

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Decolonisation, secession, and human rights: insights from a global leader

  On Wednesday night I went to Victoria University to hear Dr José Ramos-Horta, former President of Timor Leste, speak about regional and global politics. Dr. Ramos-Horta is a Nobel Laureate (1996), co-awarded the Peace Prize for his work in exile working for Timorese independence.  The Nobel Committee cited his sustained efforts to hinder the […]

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TPPA people power protests

The protests against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yesterday were an energetic show of people power. It was great to see such a big turnout – at least 15,000 in Auckland by some estimates. That’s a lot of people not buying the National Government’s spin on the TPPA. I was at the Auckland protests […]

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It’s time to work with our Pacific neighbours on a plan for climate change

Today, Ioane Teitiota will be deported to Kiribati after Associate Minister of Immigration refused to intervene against his deportation on humanitarian grounds. He will be returning to a country dealing with the impacts of climate change and sea level rises. The sea is lapping at homes on the islands, the gardens have been deluged with […]

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Coromandel rallies against the TPPA

  On Wednesday, John Key visited the southern Coromandel area with local National MP Scott Simpson and was challenged by citizens who spontaneously organised protests against the Government position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). I went down to Waihi expecting a handful of people but in fact there were 50 locals, many of […]

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The latest equal pay case – Go the Midwives

Good on the midwives taking their case straight to the High Court. Of course, it’s for the Court to decide if this is a case of gender discrimination, but the public arguments sounds pretty compelling. I’m not sure how anyone would think a midwife, after three years of training, with significant legal and medical responsibilities, […]

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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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Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation

Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for the result – where the judge decided the Ministry’s processes were flawed and unfair – […]

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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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