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Shock Retirement

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 pm, March 2nd, 2011 - 37 comments
Categories: politicans - Tags: ,

Simon Power is not going to stand for re-election in November.

He has stood out for National with his competency, and as such was entrusted with the Ministries of Justice, Commerce and State-Owned Enterprises, as well as being Minister Responsible for the Law Commission, Associate Minister of Finance, and Deputy Leader of the House.

Power pushed through major reforms to the criminal justice sector and is still working through liquor laws and changes to financial market rules.

National will really miss their biggest rising star, who surely was the sensible choice to take over the leadership after Key.  One of the few ministers to be more likeable, and less extreme – and without taint from the 90s slash-and-burn National government – he also comes across as more competent, if somewhat gung-ho.

This will not help National renewal, with the die-hards Bill English, Tony Ryall, Murray McCully and Maurice Williamson continuing, but the young blood departing.

He is leaving to pursue interests in the private sector.

37 comments on “Shock Retirement ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Its a shame – Powers really is one of the very few exceptional members of Key Cabinet.

    • Bullshit !Hes a dangerous man who hides behind a bland blank face .Anyway as have said before there are no good Tories ,The sooner the Left realise this the better it will get,

  2. kriswgtn 2

    Yeah have to agree,he wasnt that bad compared to the rest of that lot

    Problem, what is the real reason he has decided to quit

  3. Bored 3

    When we look at the way Power has pushed legislation through, and the content of this legislation we can be truly relieved Power is going. The Criminal Procedures legislation has provision for the loss of a right to silence, and requires that your defense is given to the prosecution prior to trial. This draconian and blatantly uncivil act is the brain child of Palmer (one of the idiots who betrayed Labour principles and brought us free market rationalism). Power has run hard with this, which makes me question his motivations and his attitude towards justice and the rights of his fellow citizens.

    Look good, sound good , do evil things in the name of efficiency, the leitmotif of todays parliament.

    • Agreed.

      You should ask the Criminal Bar what they think about Power’s reforms. Criminal Legal Aid is a mess and the attempted “simplification” process addresses a problem that does not really exist. If they want to free up the lists they need to appoint more Judges.

      Maybe Power is lining himself up a couple of nice directorships on soon to be privatised Crown entities?

      • The simplification process addresses a massive number of problems that do exist.

        • Bored

          Simplification at the expense of civil rights?

          • Graeme Edgeler

            I’m not saying that I support everything in the bill – I don’t.

            But the suggestion that the Bill is addressing a “problem that does not really exist” is false. The are a large number of problems in criminal procedure at the moment that are being addressed.

  4. toad 4

    Just idle speculation not based on any evidence, but wonder if as SOE Minister he opposed state asset privatisation and lost the debate in Cabinet.

    • Tigger 4.1

      Or any of the raft of other nasties that have yet to come to light… He has young children also, yes?

  5. Reason for going is probably the travel/absence from home and the long hours. Not to mention the BS and the thought of not being reelected.

  6. …less extreme…

    Ummm… which Simon Power are you talking about?

    The one I was thinking of has never seen a civil or legal right he didn’t want to trash, whether it be removal of protection from double jeopardy and of the need for unanimous verdicts in jury trials, and… oh hell I can’t be bothered listing everything this suburban fascist has tried, so I’ll hand over to a team of lawyers who conducted an analysis for the UN:

    New Zealand law allows significant human rights failings and breaches of international treaties…

    Power is a disgrace. At least “Crusher” had the cojones to front for National on the “3 strikes” legislation, properly Powers’ job. Perhaps at that time he still had leadership aspirations.

    I’ll be having a drink tonight to celebrate the exit of one of the most dangerous – whether by stupidity or design I’ll leave to others to judge – Ministers of Justice NZ has ever had.

    • The removal of the protection from double jeopardy and the need for unanimous verdicts occurred under Minister Annette King.

      • Bored 6.1.1

        I dont care who it happens under, its just plain wrong, and power from his record obviously agrees with it. Good riddance.

      • Ah yes, you’re right Graeme. Thanks for thecorrection. I was thinking of the Parole (Extended Supervision Orders) Amendment Bill, which breached rights against retroactive penalties, double jeopardy, and arbitrary detention (at least according to the Attorney General).

        Then there was Section 92A – another “guilty till proven innocent” measure of the type with which Power clearly seems enamoured, the “Crime Tax” proposal, etc etc.

        But the point you make raises another – there are few politicians who are suited to the roles of Attorney General and Minister of Justice. NZ has been fortunate to have several (e.g. Martyn Finlay) who’ve set an example for their successors, but sadly rather than inspiring them to live up to that legacy, all that’s been achieved is to establish a benchmark against which those of us old enough to remember the good ones can measure by how much most of the newer ones have fallen short. Power moreso than most.

  7. randal 7

    the whole lot is getting out…while the going is good I suppose.
    but what it means is that natioanul will have have a whole new gang of teaparty type pinheads who think they know everything running the show.
    first they beat everybody over the head bleating about it was their turn now they are going to punish us with inanity.

  8. North 8

    One of the better ones in the National Cabinet……get off the grass !

    This unprincipled schoolboy, this fake gravitas wrecker, will go down as the fellow who singlehandedly ruined the legal aid system by abolishing counsel of choice. Well, not quite singlehandedly……at his behest Dame Margaret Bazley assisted with her pathetic, brazenly fictitious “report”.

    All over the country we’re seeing people not getting counsel assigned until their second and third appearance in court…….at great cost to the court system and thus the community. And then it’s the luck of the draw as to whether the lawyer of 35 years experience or he’she of 1 years experience gets assigned. Uncertainty reigns. The Legal Services Agency is lumbered with an administrative monster. The rules are constantly changed virtually without notice often. Judges absolutely hate it because they see the chaotic results in their courts on a daily basis. Results which were always screamingly predictable.

    Something possessed Simon Power to throw the time and money saving “asset” of lawyers’ prior knowledge of defendant, whanau and community down the drain and he did it with considerable populist glee. The obvious benefits of trust and confidence which underpin whanaungatanga were sneered at. Incredibly, the change was heralded with aspirational crowing about keeping experienced lawyers within the legal aid system and attracting more. The result is quite the reverse. At greater not less cost.

    I’m undecided as to whether it was rank incompetence or sheer spitefulness. A mix I guess. Anyway, good riddance !

    • Cheryl 8.1

      Please keep your arguments factual. A lawyer with only 1 year’s experience will not be assigned a criminal legal-aid case. Cases are assigned only to practitioners who are approved by the LSA as lead providers. To be a lead provider (criminal law) you need at least 2 years’ experience (contrast family, where 1 years’ experience is the minimum). Yes the lead provider may decide to delegate some of the work to a secondary provider, under appropriate supervision, but in that case the quality of work remains the responsibility of the lead provider.

      • North 8.1.1

        Yes……sorry……two years experience.

        Now Cheryl……please address the frequent and utterly farcical picture of no lawyer assigned until after a defendant’s second and third appearance. When the years and years of experience lawyer fully armed with prior knowledge of a defendant, a whanau, a community, is sitting right there in the courtroom, shaking his/her head in disbelief as the judge gets shirty about the natural consequence of Power’s and Bazley’s “reforms”.

        Further Cheryl, if you’re so fancy about “factual” why do I not hear you complaining about the disgraceful collection of innuendo and gossip which is the essence of Dame Margaret Bazley’s fictitious and demonising report on legal aid lawyers ?

        Not factual ? Well how is it that of the 1,000 or so criminal legal aid practitioner’s in New Zealand only a handful (5 or 6 to my knowledge) have been the subject of formal disciplinary action in the aftermath of the brazen campaign to punish the “culpable” poor.

        And don’t come up with “Comesky tales”. Chris Comesky’s misdeeds such as they were are not addressed in any way by denying counsel of choice in Category 1 and Category 2 assignments.

        The fact is that the legal aid system is now less efficient while more expensive. How Un-National is that ? As an incredulous National-fond lawyer of my acquaintance lamented to me recently – “This is just a charter for useless lawyers. I can’t believe a National government would do this……”.

        Well done Simon Power !

        • Cheryl

          I am no defender of the Legal Services Agency, as my friends and colleagues (and indeed the LSA) are well aware.

          I do not practise in criminal law so I have no firsthand experience of the effect of the changes in the assignment policy there. I think what the changes were intended to achieve was probably good. What they have actually achieved is probably not. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

          I have my own experience of the LSA’s ability to implement its own policy effectively (not). I shall not comment further at this point.

          I have no idea what basis there was for the statements in the Bazley report. I thought there was probably some truth to it and some exaggeration. I don’t think the LSA has adequately explained why – if all those problem lawyers existed – they didn’t do something sooner. (Jonathan Temm told the Waikato BOP NZLS AGM last year that someone at the LSA essentially had had the job of disposing of complaints by binning them, and that that emphasis had now ended.)

          What seems crazy to me is the increasing insistence that everything is supposed to be done by a lead provider, rather than being able to be co-ordinated and supervised by a lead provider and actually done largely by more junior providers (with careful training and supervision). Comeskey’s fault was that he was invoicing as though he himself had done all the work, rather than openly invoicing for work done by more junior providers (though hopefully with the required categorisation for whatever work they did). But the LSA seems to be advocating a system by which lead providers (and preferably senior ones) do more of the work, at a higher hourly rate than if the work is done by more junior providers under supervision. Yet the legal-aid system is supposed to be as economical and efficient as possible??

          However, there is no need for you to be defensive (or offensive), or to be as factually careless as perhaps others have been. Do not sink to their level.

  9. ak 9

    Spooky. Ken Ring predicted that Key would lose his grip on power…..

    cap: ignore

  10. asset sales 10

    Who will front the asset sales of Genesis, Meridian and Solid Energy now..???

    • kriswgtn 10.1

      Porky Bennett

      Anti spam-holidays

      Depends if shes on one again 😛

      • felix 10.1.1

        There’s plenty to criticise about Bennett without the fat jokes, kris.

        But the answer to the question? Powers will continue to front until the election, and after that it doesn’t matter.

        • pollywog

          Correct me if i’m wrong Felix ,but he hasn’t yet. So what makes you think Power will suddenly decide to be poster boy for the firesale of state assets now ?

          That’s well and truly Double Diptons gig isn’t it ?

          • felix

            You may be right and I may be jumping to conclusions, but Power is the SOE Minister, innit?

        • Daveski

          Damn you Felix. I had one of my holier than thou posts all lined up too.

  11. Oleolebiscuitbarrel 11

    You guys told me Katherine Rich was the only decent member of the National Party and tat her retirement meant the bastards had no opposition. Why is it you only sing their praises when they retire?

    • felix 11.1

      Power has always had a bit of respect around here (I don’t know why) but I do know what you mean – I’ve noticed the right do the same thing with the Greens.

      Whenever a Green MP leaves office they go from being a dangerous drug-addled comm1e flake to a tireless principled highly effective representative.

      Donald, Fitzsimons, Tanczos, even Bradford – all loathed and ridiculed by the right – have all undergone this remarkable transformation immediately upon leaving office. Kedgley, Delahunty and the rest will too.

      When Rod Donald passed away I thought it was out of respect for the dead (or perhaps “the only good green…”) but the same pattern has stuck with all the others.

      I can’t say I’ve noticed Simon Power being loathed and ridiculed though.

  12. Jim Nald 12

    Just read about Simon’s bereavement. My deepest condolences to Simon and family.
    You’re a good chap, Simon. You would have my vote if you run in my electorate.

    captcha: wonderful

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