web analytics

The reform that wasn’t there

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, July 24th, 2009 - 36 comments
Categories: law and "order" - Tags:

Justice Minister Simon Power:

I believe we need to have an open debate about the way in which sexual violence cases are conducted.

In this regard, I am currently considering potentially far-reaching reforms, including:…Making evidence about previous sexual relationships between the complainant and any person inadmissible without prior agreement of the judge.


Evidence Act 2006
44 Evidence of sexual experience of complainants in sexual cases

  • (1) In a sexual case, no evidence can be given and no question can be put to a witness relating directly or indirectly to the sexual experience of the complainant with any person other than the defendant, except with the permission of the Judge.

What’s the next great reform? ‘Power sez robbing people to be illegal’

In the words of a lawyer, Gary Gottlieb, interviewed on RNZ: “where did he get his law degree?”

[Bad look for the Herald too, twice in a week running a politicans’ story straight without checking the facts first]

36 comments on “The reform that wasn’t there ”

  1. Sting 1

    Simon says lets all sing the Kleptocracy song – government of the thieves, by the thieves, for the thieves. He stole my right in a democracy . Hey Simon says lawyers know best. What a fuckwit he is. I detest politicians, they make my blood heat up to 216 C. Anybody got a brain cell in the Beehive. What a sick sad joke.

  2. Justin 2

    I think the point here is, Simon Power is making substantive progressive changes to the Justice system, to make it fairer – which the previous Government had nine years to make.

    e.g. removing the obnoxious and often homophobic provocation defence, putting onus on defendent in rape cases.

    These changes should applauded, and are a demonstration that Power is taking these issues seriously.

    Progressive change in the justice system should be applauded whatever party it comes from.

    Labour Justice spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel on Radio NZ this morning indicated full support for these moves. How about an giving the Government some credit here?

    • Maynard J 2.1

      If what Gottlieb said was true, should we applaud Power for grandstanding and trying to score points for trumpeting non-existant changes to the system?

      Should we applaud him for making a knee-jerk reaction to criticism of knee-jerk reactions? Elias’ speech was a good example of real progressive reform. Hurried removal of the provocation defence, without spending much, if any, time looking at the implications of it – I am wary, and hope they know what they are doing.

      • Tigger 2.1.1

        Labour was pushing provocation long before National ever crept into government. If Power is so altruistic why not support Labour’s Bill rather than want the ‘glory’ for themselves.

        Maynard – the provocation defence has long been debated and derided. Can you name me any justifcation for it?

        • Maynard J

          Tigger – do you think there could be any forseeable reason where anyone might ever be goaded into killing someone, without the express intent to do so, but which falls short of self-defence?

          I could not say “no” to that definitively – hence being wary of a rushed change to make National look good (and with Labour me-too-ing) when there could be problems down the track.

          Thoise with legal experience have expressed similar views (and, admittedly, have very much influenced my thinking).

      • Rex Widerstrom 2.1.2

        Hurried removal of the provocation defence, without spending much, if any, time looking at the implications of it

        You’re right, Maynard J. And because both Power and Dalziel are determined to continue to engage in a “who’s tougher on crime” pissing contest, such questions will never be seriously posed let alone answered.

        The logical fallacy underlying the argument that “one obviously dangerous nutjob tried to use it (and failed) in a completely unjustified way, ergo every defendant who might use it is a dangerous nutjob who has no justification trotting it out” is obvious.

        But Dalziel’s ill-thought-out bandwagonning ensures that even most left voices are unquestioningly in favour. Far better a win for “our side” than pausing for breath and considering the implications.

    • Lauren 2.2

      It was Leanne Dalziel who submitted a private members bill to remove the provocation defence but it wasn’t added to the ballot while the Weatherston case was before the courts. How bout the government gives some credit where it’s due?

      • jasper 2.2.1


        It was Charles Chauvel’s bill, supported by Dalziel.
        Dalziel didn’t want to put the provocation bill in the ballot while the two cases – Weatherston and the German guy – were before the courts.

        That’s all there is to it.

  3. cha 3

    Dad spotting 101 , always a space before the punctuation .

  4. ghostwhowalks 4

    Hers another reform that wasnt there:

    National blocks move to remove provocation

    The National Party today stopped Labour’s Justice Spokesperson, Lianne Dalziel, from advancing her bill to remove the partial defence of provocation.

    Ms Dalziel was seeking leave to place the bill on Parliament’s order paper for debate, however the move was blocked by National’s Senior Whip Chris Tremain.

  5. Maggie 5

    There is a subtle difference between what Power is saying and the wording of the Evidence Act,

    The Act bars evidence of a sexual relationship between a complainant and any person other than the defendant. Power is talking about barring evidence of a relationship with any other person.

    Does he really intend that where a couple have a relationship, then one accuses the other of rape, that relationship cannot not be revealed in court unless the Judge agrees?

    • snoozer 5.1

      No, read Power’s speech, it’s quoted above for you

      “I am currently considering potentially far-reaching reforms, including: Making evidence about previous sexual relationships between the complainant and any person inadmissible without prior agreement of the judge.”

      • snoozer 5.1.1

        oops, sorry I missed your point earlier. Yeah it looks like his point is to make evidence about the alleged victim and offenders’ previous sexual relations inadmissable.. seems like that could be a step too far, that info is likely to be very relevant to establishing consent

  6. Terry 6

    Ha ha, the Heralds headline just changed from:

    “Rape complainants’ sexual pasts to be kept secret”


    “Lawyers ‘gobsmacked’ minister proposing existing law”

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    [Bad look for the Herald too, twice in a week running a politicans’ story straight without checking the facts first]

    You’re talking the NZHerald here – facts aren’t their strong point. Hell, you just had to read their justification for PPPs the other day to realise that – they were actually saying that PPPs in the UK and Australia had been a great success rather than the costly ballsup they had been.

  8. J Mex 8

    What a cock up. The crazy thing is that this wasn’t an off the cuff suggestion, but a fully worked up speech given by a worked up Justice Minister.


    Captcha: Encouraging.


    • felix 8.1

      Yep, and according to Key yesterday, Powers’ speech was definitely not just a reaction to recent high-profile court cases either – it’s one he’s been working on for ages and ages and any relevance to recent events is pure coincidence.

      Is it too early for a Tui? It is Friday after all.

  9. randal 9

    the first thing power must do is make a law preventing the press from publishing any details fof a sexual nature.
    law is turning into a salcious circus with everybody “getting off'” on the details and then wanting to ban it all afterwards.
    there seems to be a falilure of ethical and moral standards at the moment that defendants are exploiting for ends of their own.
    as we have just seen in the clayton weatherstone case the people have formed an opinion about his dirty laundry and the judge should either have ruled it inadmissible evidence or held that portion of the case in camera or used it as a reason for insantiy and detention at her majesty;s pleasure.
    too many post modernism relatavist circusses and soft options flying around these days.

  10. Power through the Herald has just launched a broadside at the criticisms. He now says that the reform is not understood. In particular the Herald reports,

    “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.”

    The link is at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10586341

    He is right but this does not appear to be what he said before.

    The Herald quote from above says “[i]n this regard, I am currently considering potentially far-reaching reforms, including: Making evidence about previous sexual relationships between the complainant and any person inadmissible”

    So what is it? Accused only or any person?

    And is Power responsible for the sloppy language or the Herald?

  11. Ooooooooooooooooh

    I just checked the beehive website and the speech is there. The link is at http://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/criminal+justice+system+reform+coming

    The speech includes the following gem:

    “In this regard, I am currently considering potentially far-reaching reforms, including:

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

    Either Power did not read the speech or he intends to introduce a reform that has already been passed. Either way he should apologise to all of those he said should “read proposals before criticising”.

    I just read the speech and I still think the criticism is valid.

    • Graeme 11.1

      Either Power did not read the speech or he intends to introduce a reform that has already been passed.

      The reform proposed/floated is:

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

      This has not “already passed”. The current law is that:

      evidence about previous sexual relationships between the complainant and any person (except the accused) is inadmissible without prior agreement of the judge.

      • mickysavage 11.1.1

        Agreed Graeme but why didn’t Power say that the proposed reform would be that evidence about previous sexual relationships between the complainant and the accused would be inadmissible without prior agreement of the judge.

        The way that he expressed it was very sloppy. I would expect the senior lawyer in Cabinet to be much better with his language.

        The attack on Gotlieb and others was also not warranted. The problem was Power’s sloppy language, not Gotlieb’s understanding.

        • Graeme

          It was a speech. The headline of the policy (which was very much a sideline in the speech) is “no rape complainant should have to face questions about their sexual history unless it’s really really important.”

          Most people understand what the the word “any” means. If he’d said no rape complainants should have to face question about their previous sexual history with the defendant, some idiot would be asking “what about all those questions about vicitms sexual history with other people? those are even worse”.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Clean car package to drive down emissions
    New rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles start July 1 with up to $8,625 for new vehicles and $3,450 for used. Electric vehicle chargers now available every 75km along most state highways to give Kiwis confidence. Low Emission Transport Fund will have nearly four times the funding by 2023 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Progress towards simpler process for changing sex on birth certificates
    The Government is taking the next step to support transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, by progressing the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill, Minister of Internal Affairs, Jan Tinetti announced today. “This Government understands that self-identification is a significant issue for transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Crown speeds up engagement with takutai moana applicants
    The Crown is taking a new approach to takutai moana applications to give all applicants an opportunity to engage with the Crown and better support the Māori-Crown relationship, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little says. Following discussions with applicant groups, the Crown has reviewed the existing takutai moana application ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court opens
    The Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, and the Minister for Courts, Aupito William Sio, have welcomed the opening of a new Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court in Hamilton. The AODT Court (Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua) addresses situations where substance abuse and offending are intertwined. “New Zealanders have told ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • EU and UK FTAs top of list for first ministerial trip since COVID-19
    Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor today announced details of his planned visit to the United Kingdom and European Union next week, where he will hold trade and agriculture discussions to further New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The visit will add political weight to ongoing negotiations with both the EU ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Arihia Bennett to chair Royal Commission Ministerial Advisory Group
    Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive Arihia Bennett MNZM has been appointed chair of the newly appointed Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “Twenty-eight people from diverse backgrounds across Aotearoa have been selected for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Medical Association General Practitioners' Conference, Rotorua
    Ki ngā pou maha o te whare hauora o Aotearoa, kei te mihiTo the pillars of our health system I acknowledge/thank you Ki te ope hapai hauora o roto o tēnei rūma, kei te mihi To our health force here in the room today, I acknowledge/thank you He taura tangata, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Karangahape Road upgrades are streets ahead
    The upgrades to Karangahape Road makes the iconic street more pedestrian and cycle-friendly, attractive and environmentally sustainable, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said at the formal celebration of the completion of the Karangahape Road Enhancements project. The project included widening footpaths supporting a better outdoor dining ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to APEC business event
    E ngā tumu herenga waka, ākina ā ngaru, ākina ā tai ka whakatere ngā waka ki te whakapapa pounamu, otirā, ki Tamaki o ngā waka Tena koutou katoa… To the great leaders assembled, who guided your waka through turbulent times, challenging waters and you continue to navigate your respective waka ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pause on Quarantine Free Travel with Victoria extended
    Following an assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne, New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria will continue for a further seven days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. There are now 93 cases associated with the outbreak in greater Melbourne, spread over four clusters. Contact tracing efforts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supplier Diversity Aotearoa Summit: Navigate 2021
    *** Check with delivery *** A mihi to all who have contributed to making today a success – starting with you! As you have explored and navigated government procurement today you will hopefully have reflected on the journey of our people so far – and how you can make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pukemiro School to close
    Pukemiro Primary School near Huntly will close following years of declining roll numbers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “I’ve consulted with the School Commissioner, and this decision acknowledges the fact that the few remaining students from last term are now settled at other nearby schools. “I want to thank ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt acts to protect NZers from harmful content
    New Zealanders will be better protected from harmful or illegal content as a result of work to design a modern, flexible and coherent regulatory framework, Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti announced today. New Zealand currently has a content regulatory system that is comprised of six different arrangements covering some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Consultation on exemption of new builds from proposed tax rules
    The Government has today confirmed new builds will be exempt from planned changes to the tax treatment of residential investment property.  Public consultation is now open on details of the proposals, which stop interest deductions being claimed for residential investment properties other than new builds.   “The Government’s goal is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech for Predator Free 2050 Conference
    Introduction E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa   Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei i raro i te kaupapa o te rā Ko Ayesha Verrall toku ingoa No ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New stock exchange to help grow small businesses
    A new share trading market, designed as a gateway to the NZX for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has been granted a licence by the Government. Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark said Catalist Markets Ltd will provide a simpler and more affordable ‘stepping stone’ for SMEs to raise capital. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Visa extensions provide certainty to employers and 10,000 visa holders
    Changes to onshore visas will provide employers and visa holders with more certainty, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced. Around 10,000 Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visas due to expire between 21 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 will be extended for another six months to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Border class exceptions approved for more farm workers and vets
    The Government has approved border class exceptions for an additional 200 dairy workers and 50 veterinarians to enter New Zealand, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.  “It is clear from conversations with the dairy and veterinarian sectors that they are facing workforce pressures. These border exceptions will go a long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More freezers and South Island hub to support vaccine roll-out
    A South Island hub and 17 new ultra-low temperature freezers will help further prepare New Zealand for the ramp up of the vaccination programme in the second half of this year, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. The new freezers arrived in New Zealand on 27 May. They’re currently being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech at the release of Climate Change Commission's final advice
    Good morning – and thank you Prime Minister. Over the last three and half years we have been putting in place the foundations for a low-carbon Aotearoa that will be a catalyst for job creation, innovation, and prosperity for decades to come. In that future, many of our everyday tasks ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Achievable blueprint for addressing climate change released
    Report says Government making good progress on emissions reduction, but more action required Meeting climate targets achievable and affordable with existing technology Economic cost of delaying action higher than taking action now Benefits from climate action include health improvements and lower energy bills All Ministers to help meet climate targets ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to release of Climate Commission final report
    A few years ago in a speech in Auckland, I compared climate change to the nuclear free movement of roughly four decades ago. And I did so for a few reasons. Firstly, because the movement of the 1980s represented a life or death situation for the Pacific, and so does ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Barrister Michael Robinson has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Robinson graduated with a BA and an LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1996, and commenced practice as a solicitor with Brookfields in Auckland.  In 1998 he travelled to London ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government takes action to improve protections for subcontractors
    The Construction Contracts (Retention Money) Amendment Bill – which provides greater financial protection for subcontractors, has passed its first reading today. The Bill amends the retention provisions in the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (CCA) to provide increased confidence and transparency for subcontractors that retention money they are owed is safe. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 1 million more Pfizer doses to arrive in July
    Pfizer has scheduled delivery of an estimated 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand during July, COVID1-9 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These consignments will double the total number of Pfizer doses we have received this year to more than 1,900,000 – enough to fully vaccinate almost 1 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Long-term home of the Independent Children’s Monitor identified
    The Independent Children’s Monitor (Te Mana Whakamaru Tamariki Motuhake), which is currently located within the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), will become its own departmental agency within Government. “Following the recommendations of several reviews, Cabinet agreed in 2019 to build a significantly expanded independent monitor for children in care,” Carmel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Racing Integrity Board members announced
    The new Racing Integrity Board will be up and running from July 1 to ensure high standards of animal welfare, integrity and professionalism in the racing industry. Racing Minister Grant Robertson today announced the appointments to the new Board: Sir Bruce Robertson KNZM – Chair Kristy McDonald ONZM QC Penelope ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt crackdown on organised crime continues
    A major operation against multiple organised crime groups with international links will make a significant dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks, Police Minister Poto Williams says. “I want to take an opportunity to congratulate the Police for their role in Operation Trojan Shield. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Farm planning framework supports farmers into the future
    A new framework, agreed between Government and industry, will make it easier for farmers and growers to integrate future greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater regulatory requirements into their farm planning, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “The Good Farm Planning Principles Guide out today, provides guidance for how farmers can organise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for Canterbury
    The Government has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to the Canterbury floods. The Minister of Social Development and Employment, Hon Carmel Sepuloni says $500,000 will be made available to help with the clean-up. The flooding in Canterbury has been a significant and adverse event damaging farmland, homes, roads ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Connecting rangatahi to the soil
    A Jobs for Nature project to raise 480,000 native plants in nurseries across South Auckland will provide work for communities disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, Acting Conservation Minister Ayesha Verrall says. The Mana in Kaimahi project is being run by Te Whāngai Trust Board and will establish ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Roll out of high-resolution elevation mapping begins
    The first tranche of mapping data from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)-LiDAR project is now available to the public from Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand. LiDAR data, which creates 3D baseline elevation information, will deliver multiple uses over the coming decades to councils and regional industries. “This mapping ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Champions of Pacific education rewarded in Queen’s Birthday Honours
    Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours list show that across Aotearoa New Zealand there were many champions of Pacific education. “Education is so vital to the success of Pacific people that it’s truly fitting that a number of educators have been honoured this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • PM congratulates Queen’s Birthday Honours recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has added her congratulations to the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to their communities and the country in the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List. “This group represents decades of services across many areas, and those honoured highlight how many New Zealanders are going above and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Change of status for Rangiriri kura
    A change of status for Te Kura o Rangiriri sees it become a designated character school within the Māori-medium network, Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis announced today. “This kura has been providing Māori immersion learning since 2003 in the historic town of Rangiriri, so I’m delighted that it is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • APEC trade ministers’ unite on COVID-19 vaccine steps and rejuvenating the WTO
    APEC trade ministers today committed to speeding up the cross-border flow of vaccines and related goods to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This followed the completion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting chaired by Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor early this morning. “As we face the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further consultation for Melville schools
    Formal consultation is set to begin on specific options for the future of schooling in South West Hamilton, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. “Recent engagement has shown that the schools and community want a change to Year 7-13 schooling for the area.  “I am now asking the Boards of Melville ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Primary schoolkids dig trees for Arbor Day
    A new Arbor Day initiative announced by Forestry Minister Stuart Nash will see thousands of primary school children get the chance to plant native trees in their communities. The initiative is open to more than 2,400 primary schools. It is a partnership between Te Uru Rākau/NZ Forest Service and the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ Upgrade Programme kept on track
    The Government is increasing its investment in the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) to support New Zealand’s economic recovery. Over two thirds of the projects will proceed as announced despite increased costs due to COVID, with modifications being made to others. “NZUP is already supporting over 1,000 jobs with 13 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Northern Pathway gets green light
    The Government is committed to the Northern Pathway with its preferred option being a separate structure for walking and cycling alongside the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Geotechnical investigations and testing has determined that building a structure connected to the Auckland Harbour Bridge is not possible ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago