Nats grandstanding on legal reform

Written By: - Date published: 3:17 pm, July 24th, 2009 - 21 comments
Categories: crime, law and "order" - Tags: , ,

Today we saw Justice Minister Simon Power get a front-page story for proposing a ‘reform‘ of the justice system that is actually just existing law (one wonders whether there’ll be days of recrimination coverage in Granny arising from that).

In a few months, we’ll see National table a Bill to remove provocation as a partial defence to a murder charge. The incredible thing about that is yesterday Lianne Dalziel asked for the leave of the House to table her Crimes (Abolition of Defence of Provocation) Amendment Bill, and National blocked it.

National has blocked a Bill from an opposition member so that in several months it can pass its own Bill for the same outcome. Clearly, National is not as interested in removing provocation as it is in public grandstanding on the issue.

21 comments on “Nats grandstanding on legal reform”

  1. gingercrush 1

    Lawyers such as senior Auckland defence lawyer Gary Gotlieb say the restrictions is already law under the Evidence Act, and therefore completely unnecessary.

    But this relates to sexual history with people other than the accused. Mr Power said currently the previous sexual relationship between the complainant and the accused does not need the judge’s agreement before being brought up in court.

    Mr Power clarified his proposal by giving further detail that he wanted to ensure that all evidence relating to a complainants’ sexual history was dealt with in a consistent way – irrespective of whether the sexual history involves the defendant or any other person.

    “To make it absolutely clear: The proposed change would inhibit sexual history between the complainant and the defendant from being raised in open court without the prior leave of the judge.”

    Gotlieb is a fool and should keep his mouth shut. – Pleased Nats continues sexual violence law work.


    Perhaps you could learn a lesson Eddie.

    • snoozer 1.1

      So, ginger, you’re happy that National blocked a bill to get rid of provocation because they want to be able to claim all the credit for it themselves later in the year?

      • gingercrush 1.1.1

        Not entirely. Yes National should have blocked Labour’s move. National is in power not Labour. Where National went wrong was to now acknowledge that labour could play a role in legislating future work on provocation. Of course the big issue you and Eddie ignore is that when you are government you head into cabinet and you discuss legislation in cabinet and get approval by your fellow cabinet ministers. That is how all government legislation that goes through our parliament is done.

        National or rather Power should have acknowledged that they look forward to working with Labour on the law surrounding provocation in the future. That is where he went wrong. Why National should adopt Labour’s provocation repeal law is beyond me. If anything its Labour that is grandstanding. Considering they had the ability to change provocation laws just nine months ago.

    • Don’t speak too soon GC

      Check out

      Gotlieb was either right or totally confused by Power’s sloppy language.

  2. Boris Klarkov 2

    Lianne Dalziel asked for the leave of the House to table her Crimes..

    New Zealand has had quite enough of Labour’s approach to justice after the last decade of “Never mind the baby-killers! Give out more speeding tickets!”

  3. jasper 3

    I find it amusing that “Power clarifies” his fully worked up speech while Goff has a “U turn” on his back of the envelope proposal.

    anti-spam: balance

    Not bloody likely with Granny!

    • gingercrush 3.1

      No the Herald nor those lawyers read his speech properly. That was the problem.

      The real story about the Herald is don’t read what they have said literally and its quite likely you should read it again every hour or so since the article is somehow updated.

    • Ron 3.2

      I don’t find it amusing. I’m finding it bloody annoying. If NZ journos get further up NACT’s arse they’ll be making their speeches for them.

    • Dan 3.3

      I totally agree Jasper. We will see the same sort of backtracking on the rush to change the provocation law. Wiser heads will say the horrors of the last few weeks should not drive poor legislation. It is more government by focus groups and populism rather than leadership.
      I am fascinated that Goff can be condemned for paying the dole to the rich, but the NACT party work on giving out largesse to their mates every day with tax cuts and private school funding. The hypocrisy is breathtaking, and our wonderful fourth estate do not know!!

  4. IrishBill 4

    GC, I’m pretty sure that Power didn’t sell it like that until he was pulled up on it. And I’m not surprised to see it being backed by Labour because it is progressive legislation. I think you’re mistaking Eddie taking umbrage at the cynical way it was spun with Eddie taking umbrage with the actual policy itself. I’m calling “strawman” on your comment.

    • gingercrush 4.1

      Making evidence about previous sexual relationships between the complainant and any person inadmissible without prior agreement of the judge.

      That neither those lawyers or the Herald could comprehend that belies belief. Considering Power was a MP during 2006 indicates he knew what law had been passed. Its a bit naive to believe someone that is the Minister of Justice would make a speech indicating changes in the law and the applying of laws by repeating something that is already law.

      • IrishBill 4.1.1

        Its a bit naive to believe someone that is the Minister of Justice would make a speech indicating changes in the law and the applying of laws by repeating something that is already law.

        Not if there was a good headline in it.

      • BLiP 4.1.2

        Its a bit naive to believe someone that is the Minister of Justice would make a speech indicating changes in the law and the applying of laws by repeating something that is already law.

        Unless the Minister doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  5. Nick 5

    Labour had nine years to change it and didn’t.

    The Ministry of Corrections report – About Time: Turning people away from a life of crime and reducing re-offending (~ 2001) also just sat and gathered dust.

    You. Had. Your. Chance.

    • Nick your question and others like you who state “Labour had nine years to do it why didn’t they” is actually bloody stupid! The reason is you can only pass so much legislation in a period of time. The legislation that will be passed today will be what is pertinent to that time. Politics is an ever changing organism. What may not be an issue today may be an issue next week, next year, next term.

      If we are to apply your logic I could ask the following. National had nine years before Labour previous nine years why didn’t they lower tax’s when they where in power? After all many of Nationals ministers are the same old retreads.

      See how bloody stupid it gets?

  6. Graeme 6

    The problem is, if a bill to repeal provocation was introduced by Dalziel, the Government wouldn’t be permitted to introduce their own.

    They’d be allowed to adopt her bill, but would be stuck with its language. There were some minor problems with it, but it wasn’t too bad; but if you want to introduce other matters (e.g. a change to sentencing laws to allow greater use of less-than-life sentences for murder) the government would then be forced to do so via Supplementary Order Paper.

    The debate on the bill in select committee could have been focussed on irrelevant things and the government’s proposed changes would likely have gotten significantly less public scrutiny – not exactly great from a democratic perspective.

  7. Well of course they want to grandstand and claim it for themselves – they’re the government, they perceive this issue as popular.

    The fact that they think making a grave error in justice, committing an affront to due process and destroying centuries of jurisprudence given to us by far greater legal minds that Simon Power is a good idea, because its popular or it fits the agendas of certain lobby groups or it makes people feel happier, means that this grandstanding move should come as no surprise to any of us.

    Doing the right thing when everyone wants you to do the wrong thing is hard and they’re clearly not up to it so I’m not surprised buy this latest move.

  8. Killinginthenameof 8

    So what, National has had plenty of terms in government also. Why didn’t they change it previously?

    You. Had. Your. Chance. Previously.

  9. Killinginthenameof 9

    Err cancel that, see my comment in its proper place above.

  10. Norma 10

    Okay, National denied leave for Dalziel to introduce her bill. Where Power made a mistake was to repeat the mantra “they had nine years to do it and they didn’t”. Power, whom I rate, should have said “I look forward to Labour’s support on the Bill that National will introduce”. That’s called being gracious, two words that are not in the Crosby Textor vocabulary.

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