Earlier this week I posed some questions to Finance Minister Bill English about his support for the government’s plan to spend a billion dollars on a new prison. I was pretty disappointed in his answers, all of which flew in the face of his own comments in the past acknowledging that prisons were a moral and fiscal failure.
I would love to know who is calling the shots in the National government’s cabinet when it comes to deciding how best to spend taxpayers’ money. On the evidence of the last few weeks, it definitely isn’t Finance Minister Bill English making the calls.
Our increase in prison numbers – ‘average’ numbers of incarcerated offenders have more than doubled over the last twenty years – is not because New Zealanders are becoming more lawless or because the crime rate is increasing (they aren’t, and it isn’t).
A week ago I visited Lillestrøm, a short train journey to the north-east of Oslo and the site of the KRUS Correctional Service Training Academy the Norwegian training school for prison officers.
Our legal and political systems owe a lot to the Westminster model. When you get up close and personal, though, it’s apparent that there are subtle and not so subtle differences in structure as well as scale.
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 […]
Most of the racist semi-abusive letters and emails that we receive at the Greens seem to be from older people. How can I tell? Possibly it’s the handwritten letters, usually from Tauranga or Canterbury, in the formal style we were taught at school many years ago. I answer these politely as the Pākehā Te Tiriti […]
Once again our media is covering another story of male high school students getting girls drunk so they can perform sexualised acts with them to post on line. Again these young men have only been issued warnings rather than being charged by the police. It was great to see the Principals’ Association speaking out and […]
Yesterday I had the great privilege of hosting Efleda Bautista from People Surge at Parliament. People Surge is a group of 2o,ooo people who are survivors or supporters of communities impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. For Efleda and her communities, climate change is a daily threat as the consequences of this devastating event continue to impact […]
Following the exoneration of Teina Pora for the murder of Suzanne Burdett earlier this year, there’s been a lot of valuable discussion in the media and in our communities about miscarriages of justice and whether our justice system is effectively set up to deal with them. There has been a high level of public interest […]