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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Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales

The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it is being unduly restrictive by limiting submissions on the Long Term Plan to the traditional […]

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Govt managing our money for political ends

Treasury papers released under the Official Information Act show that it is providing advice on short-term measures the Government can employ to help it post a surplus this year. The advice includes possible savings from delaying the rebuild of Canterbury; delaying foreign aid expenditure; holding back ACC savings; and new taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and […]

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Election Inquiry – Getting accessible voting on the agenda

James Shaw has been doing a series of blogs on the Election Inquiry into last year’s general election.  I thought this was a great opportunity to raise an issue very dear to me – accessible voting. Last year’s general election proved to be a major milestone for accessible voting. For the first time, telephone dictation […]

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Welcoming back Peter Greste – and various freedoms

The release of Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste in Egypt brings to the surface the interplay of various freedoms around the world. Watch: Peter Greste arrives in Australia, calls for the release of colleagues Fahmy, Mohamed: http://t.co/eQyeJzxb9s pic.twitter.com/Oh0U0VegXb — AJE News (@AJENews) February 4, 2015 There are the positives: ‘freedom to’ express oneself and associate with […]

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Way opening for April Sun in Cuba

The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries and demonstrates the commitment of the USA, under Obama, to thawing a frosty relationship born […]

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