Criminal procedure bill

Written By: - Date published: 7:32 am, November 16th, 2010 - 64 comments
Categories: human rights, law, national - Tags: ,

Simon Power yesterday introduced a shiny new “Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill” to Parliament. The Nats are touting it as “the biggest change to the criminal justice system in 50 years”. Most reaction so far has been lazily positive, repeating points from the press release. Here’s one typical example:

Changes to the justice system will mean 43,000 less court events every year, less cases going to trial and more flexibility with juries, according to the government. Parliament has today signed off on a justice bill that will bring in some of the most significant changes to court procedures in decades. Justice Minister Simon Power said the 526-page Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill is the biggest shakeup of the criminal justice system in 50 years.

“It is unacceptable that there are thousands of unnecessary court appearances each year, and that it takes an average of 16 months to complete a jury trial in the High Court and 12 months in the District Court,” he said. The bill will force the defence to identify and disclose any issues before a trial and will allow the court to proceed without a defendant, if the defendant does not have a reasonable excuse for being absent. …

Guilty pleas will be encouraged as early as possible, and out of court discussions between parties will be promoted to ensure there are fewer adjournments and shorter hearings. Only the most serious and complex cases will got to trial.

Power said the changes have the potential to save $24 million over five years and free up 16,000 court sitting hours each year.

Sounds good eh? There certainly is a problem with overloaded courts. A little nip here, a tuck there, an voila, much more efficient. But hang on a minute – what are we nipping and tucking? I have seen only one report that critically examines the issue:

Rights to jury trial to be restricted

Justice Minister Simon Power today introduced a bill which he says proposes the biggest changes to the criminal justice system in 50 years. Among the most drastic changes under the Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill are reserving a jury trial to only the most serious cases – which carry a minimum of three years imprisonment. …

High profile barrister Barry Hart says the bill is a direct attack on people’s basic rights.

“It is unduly restrictive. Another example, month by month, we seem to be losing rights of the basic individual,” he says. Mr Hart agrees the criminal justice system needs a revamp but says the new bill fails to address the real crux of the issue.

“There’s no two ways about it there needs to be a speedy trial process, but here for reasons I can never understand, we have no priority system for people in custody.”

The barrister also slams the idea of a trial proceeding without a defendant. “[It’s] completely wrong in principle, I’ll always be against that process. If you have a trial in the absence of an accused it’s not really a trial is it.”

Trial by a “jury of our peers” is a one of our fundamental legal rights — should we be so quick to abandon it? The origins of habeas corpus are even older (back to the twelfth century) — what kind of trial is it without the defendant present? And what other devils are lurking in the details?

I await the reaction of the legal community with great interest (calling Andrew Geddis!). But for now I share the concerns of Barry Hart — it looks like the Nats are engaged in yet another attack on our fundamental rights.

Update: Further concerns expressed.

64 comments on “Criminal procedure bill”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Aren’t the majority of trials now non-jury.

    I’d tend to have more faith in the judge making a decision based on the law rather than a jury of peers – whatever that means in the NZ setting.

    • Tanz 1.1

      Totally agree. Some of the outcomes of the most infamous jury trials of recent years have been real shockers. The Bain trial for one, and the Kahui trial for another. Also, I’m sick of hardened crims being let out early, only to maim and kill yet again. Some have been walking around with over one hundred violent offences to their name. How many lives are taken before their freedom is finally gone? How is this justice? Go Power, and bring down the alcohol limit, as most Kiwis want, while you’re at it.

      Too often the high-profile jury trials are run by the left-wing, apologist, tabloidish MSM media.

      • Vicky32 1.1.1

        I have never understood why the Right are so desperate to re-litigate the Bain trial and screech that they know better than the jury that he’s guilty – the same with Kahui…
        Get over it boys! A (supposed) patricide isn’t one, and a Maori guy isn’t guilty! Well, maybe the jury decided that because they’re correct?
        “Hardened crims” – you’ve had too much talkback, you had better lay off while you still have a brain…
        Deb

        • millsy 1.1.1.1

          I’m left, and I think Bain is guilty.

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.1

            I have absolutely no opinion about his guilt. However I don’t think that there was enough to convict him in the first place.

          • Vicky32 1.1.1.1.2

            But why on earth? (I fear I am going to regret asking…) He spent as long in prison as if he had been guilty, but that’s not really the point… as Lynn says, there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him in the first place… As my son said at the time, angry Facebook members and pages notwithstanding, a jury who had the facts, found him not guilty, and that should be the end of it. I’ve seen magazine articles putting the case for the innocence of all sorts of people – Peter Ellis (IMO, guilty as charged!), David Tamihere (who knows?) Mark Lundy (there is a case for his innocence, apparently) and last but not least, the one that really makes me angry, Scott Watson. There was no evidence at the time that the ‘Blenheim friends’ as the media called them were dead… and what ever happened to not finding someone guilty of murder in the absence of a body, or at the very least, evidence that someone had actually been murdered? My father told me a spine-chilling story when I was a child, a true story that had established the principle that a body was needed… In the 14th (I think) century, a man was charged, convicted and executed for the murder of his teenage niece. Neighbours testified that they had heard her say “Oh Uncle, don’t kill me!” and she was gone..
            He swore he was innocent, and my Dad added the detail that he had declared that no grass would grow on his grave and to that very day it never had… I don’t know if that part of it is true… but I do know the next part… the niece turned up back to the village 5 years later, and said “Where’s Uncle, I’d like to introduce him to my husband and child”… turns out she had run away with the boyfriend he’d been telling her off about.
            I have sort of waited for the day that Olivia Hope and Ben Smart come back to Blenheim and say “Dead? Of course not! We went to Sydders and started a business…” Although as years pass that gets less likely, although their upper class origin seemed to me to have much more to do with the media interest than any real belief that they had been murdered. I remember the first TV items being played when they hadn’t been missing for 24 hours! Imagine a solo mother going to the police when her flaky teen daughter had been missing 20 hours – she would be told “Oh, she’s probably run off with a boy, come back when she’s been gone for 6 months”.

    • You must be kidding ! A lot of judges have Right -Wing connections and ideals . It is the nature of most judges to be on the Centre Right at least and this very often clouds their decisions,.
      I very much doubt that Unionists , Maori and the unemployed and underprivileged would get a fair deal with some Judges.
      The well of and privileged in society would be more likely to escape prison and a severe sentence. Its true some jury trials have dubious decisions but it is far superior to a single biased judge. I personally believe this bill is dangerous and should be opposed tooth and nail!!!

  2. QoT 2

    And christ on toast could TVNZ’s editors learn the difference between “less” and “fewer”? I wouldn’t normally get too pissy about it except that the Government’s press release uses the correct word so some munter has to have “corrected” it.

    • Richard 2.1

      I think that replacing a few words in a press release with synonyms is meant to count as “analysis”.

    • Bill 2.2

      Christ on toast? Possibly more appetising than wafers, I guess.

      • QoT 2.2.1

        Goes with Virgin-Mary-on-grilled-cheese.

        • Bill 2.2.1.1

          God in a pickle on the side?

          • Vicky32 2.2.1.1.1

            Enough already guys, with the ‘clever’ atheist witticisms, please! I am vomiting in my mouth… It ain’t anywhere near as funny as you think it is…
            Deb

            • QoT 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Um … who’s atheist? Because a casual-if-blasphemous expletive, plus a reference to far-too-common “miraculous” toast-visitations, plus an in-theme variation … really has, um, nothing to do with you or any person of faith. Would you prefer if I express my bafflement by saying “Sweet tapdancing Buddha”, or is it purely a “waaaa you can’t blaspheme against *my* faith!!!” complaint you have?

              • Vicky32

                “or is it purely a “waaaa you can’t blaspheme against *my* faith!!!” complaint you have?”
                I seriously would much rather you didn’t blaspheme against anyone’s faith, actually! IMO, ‘miraculous toast visitations’ are (thankfully) not at all common, and an artifact of American general ignorance. So, yes I have a complaint. I remember saying on h2g2 years ago, “how would you like it if I used your Mum’s name as a swearword, hey?” and missing the point bigly, an atheist replied to me, “Go ahead, I hate my mother”…
                Charmed, I am sure!
                Deb

                • QoT

                  I think that analogy is pretty crap, really. My mother is my mother, whereas Christian theology is fairly well embedded in event the most secular Western societies.

                  • Vicky32

                    No, the analogy is not crap. If you feel free to insult my religion, and I can’t retaliate (maybe because you don’t have one – but mainly because I am not that kind of person)… then your family is an analog – presumably (except obviously in the case I quoted above) something you have an attachment to…
                    Is that why people like to eff and blind and swear against Christ? Because “Christian theology is fairly well embedded in event the most secular Western societies.”?
                    Because I have never understood it…
                    I grew up in an atheist household. When he was a child, my brother decided he would swear by saying ‘Buddha’. (There was no blasphemous swearing in our household at all… which might be evidence for your assertion, but on the other hand might just be because my parents were heavily into courtesy.)
                    My brother gave up the swearing by Buddha when he was older – simply because of – yes, courtesy.
                    (By the way, the atheist parents became Christians, but that’s another story.)

                    • QoT

                      I have a hard time believing that you honestly don’t understand, Vicky, that swearing by saying “Christ” or “Jesus” or “God dammit” is a common occurrence in our society because of the embedded nature of Christian theology. It becomes second nature in the same way that saying “mate” and “like” and “you know” does because it is ubiquitous.

                      Saying “Jesus tapdancing Christ” is not intended as a specific insult directed specifically at you, whereas attacking my family and using their names as derogatory terms can only be a personal attack.

                      And as I said below, sorry, but you’re not actually that important.

                      It is clearly not just “another story” that the atheist parents became Christians or you wouldn’t mention it – except to make presumably some smarmy point about how your faith is better than everyone else’s.

            • NickS 2.2.1.1.1.2

              lawl, this is nothing compared to Cra

              • Vicky32

                “I have a hard time believing that you honestly don’t understand, Vicky, that swearing by saying “Christ” or “Jesus” or “God dammit” is a common occurrence in our society because of the embedded nature of Christian theology. It becomes second nature in the same way that saying “mate” and “like” and “you know” does because it is ubiquitous.”
                Speak for yourself! Normal, ubiquitous – no, it isn’t…. And I don’t get your rationalisation about ‘the embedded nature of Christian theology” I just don’t understand how that makes it all right!

                “Saying “Jesus tapdancing Christ” is not intended as a specific insult directed specifically at you, whereas attacking my family and using their names as derogatory terms can only be a personal attack.”
                Missing the point again! This is getting way old… I notice too, that you say that your blaspemous language is an insult directed specifically at me. Thanks a bunch! What have I done to deserve that? My point was about attachment and loyalty…

                “And as I said below, sorry, but you’re not actually that important.”
                If that were true, why the hostility?

                “It is clearly not just “another story” that the atheist parents became Christians or you wouldn’t mention it – except to make presumably some smarmy point about how your faith is better than everyone else’s.”
                Jumping to conclusions. What I meant was that I am not telling it here, it’s not relevant to political debate. You are getting on my wick with your bitter and twisted remarks about me. Smarmy? Grow up.
                My faith means as much to me (probably more) than your unfaith does to you. I could make with the insults, but I won’t because I am not that kind of person.

                • QoT

                  Vicky, you clearly are not interested in actually reading my comments or acknowledging your own tactics (if you’re not going to tell the story WHY BRING IT UP?).

                  Captcha: avoid – I intend to.

                • NickS

                  lolwut?

                  That post wasn’t even meant to be there, I closed the tab it was since my motivation was all out, and was perplexed to see in the recent post list later that night. But since you’re choosing to tone troll and treat the stupidity of religion and non empirical beliefs as something beyond mocking, my troll blood compels me to post what I was going to post. Fear ye mortal, for we shall desecrate crackers with mockery:
                  http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_a_goddamned_cracker.php
                  http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/the_great_desecration.php

                  Further mocking:
                  http://www.google.com/cse?cx=017254414699180528062%3Auyrcvn__yd0&q=cracker+site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fscienceblogs.com%2Fpharyngula%2F&sa=Search

                  And lastly:
                  Marcus Brigstocke’s ‘3 Abrahamic Faiths’ Rant .

                  And yes, your are more than welcome to your beliefs, but those beliefs do not give you any right to define what others can and cannot say, or in this case, mock.

                  Oh yeah…

                  My faith means as much to me (probably more) than your unfaith does to you. I could make with the insults, but I won’t because I am not that kind of person.

                  Except you haven’t probably seen anything I’ve written on atheism and religion in other places, and therefore such an assumption is based off stereotypes, which being stereotypes are usually craptastic at describing individuals. And then there’s the bragging over how much you care, and how much of a good person you are for not insulting me.

                  It’s soo cute.

                  And so fail troll, since I’m merrily grinning while reading your post.

                  • lprent

                    Very old testament of you I must say…

                  • Vicky32

                    NickS, you have no way of knowing how much time I used to waste on atheist sites, so you pretty well guarantee I have either seen what you have written, or exact copies! (It seems to me you people really need to come up with some new, and perhaps convincing) arguments.
                    I see I have been declared a troll. As you wish! Par for the course really – you guys are never too keen on free speech.
                    But – meh!
                    Deb

                    • NickS

                      It’s no wonder you’re still a christian then, for you seem unable to think your way through the relevant parts of my post, instead making a series of fallacious assumptions which I shall enjoy gnawing on.

                      NickS, you have no way of knowing how much time I used to waste on atheist sites, so you pretty well guarantee I have either seen what you have written, or exact copies!

                      Except I’ve been down in the coal mines, when I was active, learning and changing my understandings of atheism away from many of the main sites, and my ideas are based around using the concept of solution-space and epistemological uncertainty. On top of that fact, that without seeing what I’ve written, you can’t make any assumption on my beliefs/strength etc.

                      (It seems to me you people really need to come up with some new, and perhaps convincing) arguments.

                      It’s not our fault when christians can’t think and/or ignore the major faults in your religious beliefs, which with christianity theodicy, aka the problem of evil and deconstructivist critiques of the need for “evil”. Along with the usual critiques of the truth of the bible, evidence for such entities as souls, and the ye olde “but there must be something!” meme, thanks to teological thinking.

                      And just to make it clear, I’m referring to other people, not you, for all I have is this thread, and there’s insufficient data to go on.

                      I see I have been declared a troll. As you wish! Par for the course really – you guys are never too keen on free speech.

                      lolwut?

                      Get back to high school and relearn critical reading please. Because I said that you where using tone trolling, which is somewhat different than arguing you’re a troll. Especially when there’s obvious evidence to the contrary with your behaviour in this thread and others that marks you as being serious, and not a full blown troll.

                      Also, theists are going to get mocked/called trolls when they insist on bringing up tired old arguments that have been seen and debunked time and time again. More so when their behaviour involves not answering questions and ignoring rebuttals without even a excuse, along with missing teh point when they don’t have the skills to understand a given argument and other abuses of formal and informal fallacies.

                      As for freespeech, how hypocritical of you to accuse atheists and others of their freedom of speech to make religious jokes. I should also mention that noting you’re tone trolling doesn’t limit your freedom of speech, it’s merely an observation that instead of dealing with an argument, you’re far more interested in the tone. Which is a waste of other participates time and effort, and frankly ironically fucking rude.
                      /smug

                      But – meh!

                      Apathy fail, if you couldn’t be truly bothered you shouldn’t have bitten the bait and just gone “meh” instead of making further crap-posting.

                  • Vicky32

                    By the by, my remarks were addressed at QoT, not you… the reply button under his post was not working…
                    Deb

  3. HS the changes to what charges can actually be subject to jury charge is small.

    In 2008 there were only about 140 jury trials for such cases. The reforms do not make these trials go away, all that happens is that a Judge alone will preside. Some court time will be saved but not a great deal.

    My strong experience is that one of the main reasons with the clogging up of courts is the lack of Judicial resources. Cases can be remanded many times because there are not enough Judges to deal with the cases listed for the day. Appointing some more Judges would go a long way to unclogging the courts.

    Guilty pleas are already promoted through some reasonably hefty sentence discounts. I do not know how much further you can go on this.

    And attacking the presumption of innocence by requiring some disclosure by the defendant of their defence is bizarre and scary.

    This is not radical change. It is a hotch potch collection of changes, some idiotic, dressed up as reform.

  4. Tigger 4

    Surely Pansy Wong is a prime candidate for these new speedy trials.

  5. Geoffrey 5

    What QoT said (at 7.56am) +1

  6. I thought I would have a look at one of Power’s claims. His press release says

    Reserving jury trials for the most serious and complex cases, including by raising the threshold for a defendant electing a jury trial from crimes carrying a penalty of more than three months’ to those carrying more than three years’ imprisonment. This is expected to cut the jury trial workload by 300 to 600 trials a year (a reduction of 25-45% in the jury trial workload).”

    But there are a few problems with this:

    1. Actual jury trials saved based on 2008 figures have been estimated at 136.
    2. Total jury trials in the District Court in 2008 was 2761.
    3. The proportion of trials that would have been saved is just under 5.

    Is it my maths or is are this administration’s figures screwy?

    • r0b 6.1

      are this administration’s figures screwy?

      If so it wouldn’t be the first time! Thanks for your comments here, as per OP I’m very interested in the reactions of lawyers to this…

    • Bored 6.2

      No Mickey, it is the logic behind the proposals that is screwy.

      NACT claim the changes will save money: wrong as your numbers point out. More importantly it is wrong in principle, justice costs money and it takes time.

      The whole concept that we can apply economics (influenced by the neo lib brand) to the courts is a disgrace, to trade off justice for early guilty pleas based upon the cost to defend, plea bargaining, and any other short cuts that give “efficiency” are going to debase justice.

      To “try” in absentia is jst plain wrong, and these bastards will abuse it.It smacks of totalitarianism a la Stalin and Hitler.

  7. Bill 7

    Hmm. So trails surrounding political activism could have charges laid that are laid only because those charges exceed the three year limit?

    Meaning that the Waihopai three might have been (not too sure of the exact charges that were laid and the sentence that those charges could have attracted) tried by a judge alone, meaning much less liability of ‘natural’ justice prevailing.

    “The bill will force the defence to identify and disclose any issues before a trial..”

    Why? So a defence would be rigid, then? Much less capable of exercising degrees of flexibility in the light of new issues being highlighted by the prosecution? (Prosecution doesn’t have to disclose all issues before trial, apparently.)

    And what about any defence tactic of allowing the prosecution to dig a hole for itself before unveiling a piece of evidence that kills the prosecution case. With prior disclosure, the prosecution could alter their argument….avoid or deliberately downplay an otherwise pertinent issue, in order to get a conviction…as opposed to seeing that justice is served.

  8. ianmac 8

    Bill: “Why? So a defence would be rigid, then? Much less capable of exercising degrees of flexibility in the light of new issues being highlighted by the prosecution? (Prosecution doesn’t have to disclose all issues before trial, apparently.)”
    Exactly. A witness discloses an issue unexpectedly during the trial. The defence deserves the right to shift their defence strategy rather than be stuck with the pretrial declaration as proposed.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    From the Stuffy version of the tale:

    Meanwhile, Mr Power has indicated he would like to see a review of the Bill of Rights. Although the legislation was “a benchmark” for conduct, policy and law, it would be naive to think the Bill of Rights Act would not “benefit from a rethink”, he said this week .

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4343762/Cabinet-set-to-sign-off-justice-shake-up

    • r0b 9.1

      Absolutely. I’m sure the BORA can be made much more “efficient”…

      • Tigger 9.1.1

        Why do we even need rights? Just do away with them.

        • mickysavage 9.1.1.1

          A quick hearing in front of the Senior Seargent on the night of the lock up. Just think of all the savings in Courts, Judges and Lawyers.

          Of course good people never need these services.

          • r0b 9.1.1.1.1

            If you’re not guilty you have nothing to fear!

            • the pink postman 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh dear rOb .Where have you been living. “If you are not guilty you have nothing to fear. ” I believe it was Goebbels who first used that phrase. I agree one has nothing to fear so long as one is not ,Maori, poor , underpriviledged , unionist or any other perceived enemy of the Nats.
              I believe this bloke Power is the most dangerous politician since Sydney Holland. In fact because the influence of TV and the backing of Textor -Crosby he is most likely much more dangerous .

            • mickysavage 9.1.1.1.1.2

              I am sure that r0b was being ironical …

          • millsy 9.1.1.1.2

            Why not just do what they did in the American South, and settle it with a noose and tree branch?

            Garth McVicar knows he wants to…

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Idiot/Savant put up a post on this yesterday:

    The Bill of Rights Act is very clear: no-one shall be compelled to be a witness or to confess guilt. That’s exactly what Simon Power is proposing they be forced to do. It will be more “efficient” of course. So would forgoing trials entirely and assigning verdicts at random. But the court process is not supposed to be about efficiency and saving money – it is supposed to be about justice. And what we are seeing here is an erosion of justice so that National can give away more tax cuts to its rich mates.

    It really does look like NACT are throwing in even more authoritarian rules so that they can cut taxes to themselves and their rich mates.

  11. gingercrush 11

    And yet nearly all of you would have celebrated the repeal of provocation despite the legal fraternity having real concerns about that.

    • Bill 11.1

      Never been altogether comfortable with that being repealed, to be honest. The Weatherston trial, his ludicrous application of the defence and subsequent media coverage was all a bit too convenient in my mind. I’m not arguing that as a defence strategy it was abused by ‘gay bashers/murderers’ and the like.

      But

      Victims of domestic violence who ‘lose it’ after the latest in a long run of abuses? I think it was a good mitigating defence in those circumstances. Now their circumstances can’t be differentiated.

      • Vicky32 11.1.1

        I feel the same way… The provocation defence ought to have stayed – how often was it used by (alleged) gay bashers, as opposed to others?
        I am sticking my neck out here, which means inviting people to make me a head shorter, but what the hey? Gay people are *not* all plaster saints by virtue of being gay, any more than any other group comprises solely saints!
        Deb

        • QoT 11.1.1.1

          Vicky … who gives a crap what any given gay person is like? Their being gay still isn’t a reason for them being brutally killed by wankers with a hypersensitive masculinity complex.

          Sure, you may say “oh I wasn’t saying that”, but frankly as soon as you start acting like the issue is about gay people’s behaviour as opposed to that of their murderers there may be a tiny problem with your logic button.

          • Vicky32 11.1.1.1.1

            QoT, you seem to have issues with whatever I say… No one whoever they are deserves being killed – but what I was saying is that I think it’s a bad thing that the provocation defence was got rid of solely because (AFAIK) of its use in the trials of real or alleged gay bashers…
            You may diss me (in fact you have in advance) for saying “I wasn’t saying that”, but like it or not, I wasn’t.
            Deb

            • QoT 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Um, you’re not that special, Vicky, you just happened to make two comments I took massive issue with on a thread I happened to be getting email notifications for.

              If you want to say that “gay panic defence is not sufficient reason to repeal provocation”, it probably wouldn’t kill you to say that, instead of having a nice victim-blaming rant about gay people. Because that’s what you did say.

              • Vicky32

                Sigh, have it your own way! ““gay panic defence is not sufficient reason to repeal provocation”. That’s my point of view.
                Anche se, eppure, le gente gay non sono gente onesta e buono, secondo me! Eppure si muove…
                Deb

                • QoT

                  Playing victim because you had your own words held against you probably isn’t the smartest move in this situation, Vicky. Perhaps you could try implying that I’m some kind of coldhearted atheist, or pull the “don’t you have anything better to do??” defence? I just don’t think the judging panel are with you on this one.

                  • Vicky32

                    The judging panel? Self-important much?
                    Leave it please… Picking on me might give you a buzz (it obviously does) but I have better things to do..
                    Deb

                    • RedLogix

                      No you’re not on you’re own here Deb. I’m fairly uncomfortable about the abolition of the ‘provocation’ defense as well. Sure sometimes defense barristers will pull very long bows with it, but almost invariably juries cut them loose on it.

                      But if you’ve seen a bit of life, and understand how most murders are committed by ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances they’re tragically ill-equipped to deal with… then you’ll realise that provocation has it’s place. If not as a full-defense, at least as a partial mitigation.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    And now it appears that it’s inconsistent with the BoRA as well.

  13. Malcolm 13

    Right to silence, habeas corpus, trial by a jury of our peers, the right not to be detained arbitrarily. Going, going, gone …. with barely a whimper. These are supposed to be fundamental rights of the individual. So much for bourgeois legality. Time for some working-class justice.

  14. Tanz 14

    Key is not Hitler, you know. Paint him black, but it won’t stick.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Yep. Key is definitely not Hitler. Hitler created a network of highspeed autobahns spanning across Germany and in doing so sorted out Germany’s massive unemployment problem. Key built a cycleway and created a couple of dozen labourers’ jobs.

      So agree, Key is definitely not Hitler.

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    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    12 hours ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    22 hours ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    23 hours ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    1 day ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    2 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    5 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    6 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    6 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    7 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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