web analytics

Power on Q+A

Written By: - Date published: 10:51 am, May 17th, 2009 - 9 comments
Categories: law and "order" - Tags:

On Q+A this morning, Justice Minister Simon Power flew a kite on some possible changes to the justice system.

The first was raising the severity threshold at which defendants can elect trial by jury. Currently, if you are tried for a crime with a maximum sentence in excess of 3 months on prison you can elect to have a jury; Power wants to look at raising that to three years. He said that currently people were waiting a year for trial in district courts and this would cut out 1,000 jury trials a year. However, he could not give a figure on how much that would actually speed up trials (nor did he say how much faster a judge only trial is than a jury one or what percentage of just trials we are talking about eliminating here). It’s not something I’m reflexively against. The jury system has a lot of problems and other countries like Australia have higher thresholds.

The second change Power floated was allowing convictions (or dismissals) in absentia if defendants fail to turn up without good reason. OK, superficially it seems nice and ‘tough on crime’ and I don’t really see a big human rights issue if defendants just don’t bother showing up. However, the immediate thought is that, as with the government’s RMA reforms, this will actually lead to more court hearings as convictions in absentia are appealed on grounds that there was a good reason for the no-show. Again, Power failed to demonstrate any need for this measure because he couldn’t supply a number for how many cases would be affected per year and couldn’t identify how much time the court system would save on cases.

Finally, Power suggested fining lawyers and perhaps disallowing them from claiming legal aid if they tried to drag out thee trial process with vexatious hearings. Nothing wrong with that in principle but devil is the detail here – you have to be very careful to make sure you’re not infringing on the right to a fair trail and we should err on the side of that right. Once again, Power didn’t actually have any facts to show there is a large problem or that this is an effective solution to it. In fact, it would probably just opening up a whole new avenue for appeals and court cases. Laila Harre’s idea of a public defender’s office is much better. It removes the temptation to ‘clip the ticket’ on legal aid for lawyers by changing the incentives. But this government is ideologically opposed to government-based solutions, so I can’t see it happening.

It was interesting that when Power referred to the drivers of crime conference the only driver he came up with was alcohol. He’s not looking fundamental enough. You’ve got to ask why some people turn to substance abuse and others don’t. The real driver of crime is poverty. Unfortunately, Power doesn’t seem to have any plan for addressing that as a way to reduce crime.

Power’s ideas may well have merit but his inability to show any evidence of that is a worry and part of a trend in how his government governs. Call it faith-based policy – National believes its policies will work based on assumptions and doesn’t do the evidence gathering and modelling that you expect in good decision-making. Ultimately, all Power’s ideas are to make the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff more efficient. We won’t really see a reduction in crime (and the strain on the legal system) unless the government is willing to make poverty a law and order issue.
-Marty G

9 comments on “Power on Q+A ”

  1. Ron 1

    Couldn’t agree more with your point about Power’s lack of evidence and the Tories governance model so far. It feels as though they’re simply enjoying throwing their weight around. I also see it in their demeanor – Judith Collins is a prime example – a sort of stroppy “now that I’m boss things are gonna change” attitude.
    Many of their “changes” will be simply the ideas they’ve generated over their gins and sav blancs. Without evidence those ideas are no better than the ones generated over a handle at my local.

  2. Al 2

    “You’ve got to ask why some people turn to substance abuse and others don’t. The real driver of crime is poverty.”

    And so why don’t we have to ask why some of those in poverty turn to crime and some don’t? Although many factors contribute to crime – alcohol and poverty fall into this list – it’s clear that you too are “not looking fundamental enough”. Fundamentally it is a choice: you can commit a crime or you can abide by the law. This is the issue we really have to address when looking to reduce crime. How can we make it harder to choose to commit a crime, and easier to abide by the law?

    To blame it all on poverty is not the key. Unless of course you mean a poverty of morals.

  3. Anita 3

    Marty G writes,

    The real driver of crime is poverty.

    That view makes you sound like a pākehā male hard line marxist who is blind to non-economic oppression and non-economic crime. Wealthy men beat their wives and children. Wealthy pākehā illegally discriminate against members of other ethnic groups.

    Crime is entangled with power imbalance and oppression: from the structural imbalance in who gets to define what is a “crime”, to criminal acts as a response to being oppressed, to criminal acts committed to oppress, through to the imbalanced enforcement, prosecution and punishment.

    Poverty is only one kind of oppression, wealth is only one kind of power.

  4. marco 4

    Interesting points, one thing though. Power is correct in identifying alcohol as a driver of crime. Eliminating alcohol fueled offences is impossible but initiating a significant decrease would free up police resources for tackling other offences. It would also decrease the need for emergency services and free up valuble funding in the health sector.
    Most alcohol fueled crime is committed in the younger age bracket and is spread across the socio-economic spectrum.

  5. If I were on trial I think I’d definitely prefer a judge than a jury. I’d be damn petrified there’d be some redneck on the jury who’d want to hang you. Therefore, I think the move by Simon Power to reduce the trials which end up being in front of a jury could be a good thing.

    • Graeme 5.1

      You’re already entitled to be tried by judge alone – at your request – for any offence with a maximum less than 14 years.

      This would just remove the right to request a jury for lower level offences.

  6. Greg 6

    “But this government is ideologically opposed to government-based solutions, so I can?t see it happening.” I wish it was.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • DevNet 2022: Keynote address
    Whakataka te hau ki te uru, Whakataka te hau ki te tonga. Kia mākinakina ki uta, Kia mātaratara ki tai. E hī ake ana te atakura. He tio, he huka, he hauhū. Tihei Mauri Ora!   Tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you to the University of Auckland for hosting this DevNet ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Community voices amplified in fight against alcohol harm
    Alcohol licensing hearings will become more accessible and less adversarial as the Government removes barriers preventing community voices from being heard, Justice Minister Kiri Allan said today. A Bill making targeted changes to the licensing process in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 has been introduced to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • GOVT to provide further funding to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts
    The Government has decided to advance a further $6 million bridging funding to allow time for MBIE through Kanoa-RDU to support the development of an alternative commercial solution. “Following discussions with affected stakeholders, including other creditors and iwi, it has become clear that more time is needed to further explore ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Government delivers safer roads for Waimakariri
    Associate Minister of Transport Kieran McAnulty was in Waimakariri this morning to mark the beginning of work on a $41 million programme to improve road safety in the Waimakariri district. “The projects started today is critical for the people of Waimakariri as it will address the stretch of SH1 between ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • International tourists bring over $1b into economy
    Spend from all international visitors totalled $1.03 billion in the September 2022 quarter Holidaymakers spent $479 million Visitors for friends or relatives spent $292 million Tourism Electronic Card Transactions spend in 8 regions (out of 16) was higher than October 2019 levels pre-COVID The release of the International Visitor Survey ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Launch of Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways
    E ngā mātāwaka, E ngā iwi o te motu, Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko Ayesha Verrall ahau, Te Minita mō te Rangahau, Pūtaiao me te Auahatanga. Tēnā koutou i runga i te kaupapa o te wā, Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.   Acknowledgements It is a privilege ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Reform of science system to build better future for New Zealand
    The Government has set the direction for a future-focused science system says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall. Our research, science and innovation system will be geared towards tackling New Zealand’s big challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation and the complex health and problems that undermine wellbeing. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Te Rohe o Rongokako Joint Redress Bill Third Reading I Te Pānuitanga Tuatoru o te Pire mō te Puret...
    Te Pānuitanga Tuatoru o te Pire mō te Puretumu Ngātahi mō Te Rohe o Rongokako I te rā nei, i Pāremata, ka oti te tuatoru me te whakamutunga o ngā pānuitanga o te Pire mō te Puretumu Ngātahi mō te Rohe o Rongokako. Ko tā te pire, he whakatinana i ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Hi-tech New Zealand strawberries on the horizon
    New Zealanders will be able to enjoy spray-free strawberries grown through a hi-tech new system almost all year round through a Government-backed pilot project based in Foxton, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced. “We’re focussed on innovations that lift the sustainability and productivity of our food and fibre sector and this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Cadetships programme continues to empower whānau Māori
    Since July 2022, more than 610 cadets across 35 programmes have been approved, up from the 499 cadets approved by this time in the last financial year. The programme is growing. “The Cadetship programme’s ongoing success comes down to treating our young people with mana so that they can achieve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New rules for offshore detention complete Govt response to Operation Burnham inquiry
    The government has announced a new set of rules to ensure proper and humane treatment of people detained by Police, Defence forces, or other New Zealand agencies during offshore deployments. The Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the new framework for offshore detention delivers on the fourth and final recommendation accepted ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 19 new townhouses for whānau in need in Lower Hutt
    Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare today visited Kahungunu Whānau Services and their newly purchased 19 townhouses in Taita, Lower Hutt. “Through the Government’s Te Kahui Māori Housing programme, Tātai Mokopuna Holdings Limited (the asset holding company of Kahungunu Whānau Services)  was granted a $7.1 million Māori housing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government backs greater competition in building supplies to reduce costs for Kiwis
    The Government will take action to increase competition in the residential building supplies sector, says Building and Construction Minister Dr Megan Woods and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Dr David Clark, following the release of the Commerce Commission’s market study final report. “We asked the Commerce Commission to review our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Royal Commission to draw lessons from pandemic response
    A Royal Commission to prepare New Zealand for future pandemics through lessons learned from COVID-19 has been announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today. “Every country in the world has grappled with COVID-19 and there was no playbook for managing it,” Jacinda Ardern said. “It had been over 100 years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister Sio to discuss Pacific development priorities
    Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio travels to Indonesia this week to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the Indonesia Pacific Forum for Development and the 15th Bali Democracy Forum. “Attending these international meetings enables Aotearoa New Zealand to connect with our partners kanohi ki te kanohi, or face to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Changes to partner work visas deferred to April 2023
    Changes to partner work visas that were set to come into effect in December 2022 have been deferred to April 2023, Immigration Minister Michael Wood has announced today. “I have made the decision to defer these changes to April 2023,” Michael Wood said. “Our Government wants to provide greater certainty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Building Act changes put the environment at the heart of how we build
    The Government is taking action to reduce waste and lower emissions from the building and construction sector in significant Building Act amendments announced today. “This Government is proud to put the environment at the heart of how New Zealand builds. By enabling mandatory energy performance rating requirements for buildings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt’s medicines boost paying off for New Zealanders
    Pharmac’s plan to fund the cystic fibrosis medicine Trikafta is another example of the Government’s boost to the medicines budget helping New Zealanders, says Health Minister Andrew Little. “Pharmac, not politicians, makes the decisions on what treatments to fund, but politicians decide what funding to provide to Pharmac, and health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Better transport choices for New Zealanders
    Forty-six councils across Aotearoa New Zealand, from large metro centres to small provincial towns, will receive funding to implement more transport options for communities, as part of the Transport Choices package 2022-24, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. “The Government is upgrading New Zealand’s transport infrastructure system to make it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Te Rangiwaituhi – Maniapoto apology
    Mihi Ko taku rourou iti a haere, maringi kai whenua Ko taku rourou iti a haere, maringi kai moana kia mau ki te kawau māro, whanake ake! kō Maniapoto e! Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa   Greetings and Thanks As we gather here this morning I want to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Maniapoto receives Crown Apology – Ka whakawhiwhia ki a Ngāti Maniapoto te Whakapāhatanga a ...
    Kua tukuna e te Pirimia, e Jacinda Ardern, i te taha o te Minita mō ngā Take Tiriti o Waitangi, a Andrew Little, te Whakapāhatanga a te Karauna ki a Ngāti Maniapoto mō āna mahi o mua i takahi i te Tiriti o Waitangi. I tū te hui i Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Big online platforms to pay fair price for local news content
    The Government will legislate to require big online digital companies such as Google and Meta to pay a fair price to New Zealand media companies for the local news content they host and share on their platforms, Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson announced today. The legislation will be modelled on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to remove entrenchment from Three Waters legislation
    The Government will fix the Water Services Entities Bill this week by removing the entrenchment clause that was voted on during committee stages, Leader of the House Chris Hipkins announced today. “It was a mistake to put the entrenchment clause in and the Government will fix the issue as soon ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 10 new whare for Ngāi Tāmanuhiri kaumātua and whānau in Te Muriwai
    Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare joined Ngāi Tāmanuhiri and the wider Toitū Tairāwhiti collective, at the opening of 10 new homes built for kaumātua and whānau in Muriwai today.   “Every whare that is built and whānau that is transferred from inadequate housing to a warm dry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Joint statement: Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand Foreign Minister Consultations
    Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong welcomed Aotearoa New Zealand's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Nanaia Mahuta to Canberra today for biannual Australia – Aotearoa New Zealand Foreign Minister Consultations. The Ministers acknowledged the unique strength of the relationship between Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, reaffirmed the shared ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding boost for kaupapa Māori response to homelessness
    Associate Minister of Housing (Homelessness) Marama Davidson has announced a significant funding boost today for kaupapa Māori approaches that support whānau into housing. $24.7 million will be allocated to support the delivery of He Ara Hiki Mauri – a tangata whenua-led response to homelessness. “Homelessness is not inevitable. By working ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland barrister David Gary Johnstone has been appointed a judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Johnstone graduated from the University of Auckland in 1991 with a BCom/LLB(Hons), and joined Bell Gully as a solicitor, practising in general commercial litigation. During 1993 and 1994 he studied at the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • MAIHI Whare Wananga celebrates innovative approach to Maori Housing
    New Maori Housing dashboard for better data sharing and better outcomes New development training programme to grow sector capability Associate Minister of Housing (Maori Housing) Peeni Henare today attended the annual MAIHI Whare Wananga hosted by Toitu Tairawhiti Housing Limited in Kaiti.   “Our MAIHI Whare Wananga is an opportunity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New mental health facility a step closer for Gisborne
    Health Minister Andrew Little was at Gisborne Hospital today to mark the next step of Te Tairāwhiti’s new Te Whare Awhiora mental health facility build. The Health Minister turned a sod to mark the start of groundworks at the site, in preparation for the placement of a mauri stone. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More rural broadband for regional communities
      New contracts will improve around 30,000 broadband connections in rural homes and communities Govt on track to see 99.8% of all New Zealanders receive access to improved broadband as a result of various connectivity programmes by the end of 2023, including those targeting rural regions Applications open for one-off ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tauranga region to benefit from new funding and financing tool
    Tauranga will be the first region to use a new Government tool to raise funding for much-needed infrastructure. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be used to raise finance from private markets, which is then repaid via the levy on those who benefit from the infrastructure. The finance raised by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New committee established to drive better public health outcomes
    Some of the country’s most difficult health issues will be tackled by a newly established public health advisory committee, whose members have now been appointed. Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall says the new Public Health Advisory Committee will investigate and help address long-term health challenges facing Aotearoa. “We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government and sector back innovative regional and wool projects
    $2.17 million for new food and fibre ventures in Taranaki $2.24m to develop high-value, sustainable cashmere industry $233,000 to prototype an acoustic, knitted textile product from strong wool for high-end commercial and residential interiors.  $530 million co-invested with business through the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund  The Government closes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement on the death of Sir Murray Halberg
    New Zealand has lost one our true sporting icons with the passing of Sir Murray Halberg, Grant Robertson, Minister of Sport and Recreation said today. “Sir Murray was an extraordinary athlete. His gold medal in the 5000m at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960 has been immortalised as part of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Ministerial talks in Canberra to progress trans-Tasman relationship
    The importance of cooperation in the Pacific to support the region’s recovery and resilience will be a focus of formal talks in Canberra tomorrow between the Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her Australian counterpart Penny Wong. Nanaia Mahuta will meet Senator Wong for the second formal Foreign Ministers’ Consultations following ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Iwi and Government partnership delivers more rental homes for Pāpāmoa whānau
    Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare attended the official opening of 10 new rental homes built for working whānau of Ngā Pōtiki ā Tamapahore in Pāpāmoa today. “The Bay of Plenty region is one of many regions facing significant housing challenges and this Government is taking action by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government investment to support growth of Māori businesses and jobs in the primary sector
    Total exports by Māori businesses have grown by 38% since 2017 to $872 million, with the majority from the food and fibre sector Launch of Rautaki mo te Taurikura action plan to support the continued growth of Māori food and fibre sector Support for Māori agribusiness innovation and workforce development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to address child abuse system failings
    The Government is adopting the majority of recommendations from an independent review into the actions of government agencies leading up to the death of 5-year-old Malachi Subecz, Minister for Children Kelvin Davis announced today. Following Malachi’s murder at the hands of his caregiver in 2021, Dame Karen Poutasi was appointed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More tools to help Police deal with fleeing drivers
    Increase the maximum driver licence disqualification period for a second offence of failing to stop or remain stopped, from 12 months to between 12 months and 24 months; Amend the Sentencing Act 2002 so that a vehicle can be forfeited on conviction for failing to stop. Offenders could have their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt books solid as global situation worsens
    The Crown accounts are in a solid position thanks to the Government’s careful financial management through a deteriorating global environment. For the four months to the end of October, the Operating Balance before Gains and Losses (OBEGAL) recorded a deficit of $2.8 billion, $274 million lower than forecast at Budget ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago