A couple of weeks ago Justice Minister Simon Power slammed Chief Justice Sian Elias for commenting on possibilities of change in the criminal justice system. He was unimpressed that the Chief Justice would dally into the realm of policy when it is the job of judges to apply the law, not to make it.
Setting aside the possibility that the Chief Justice’s comments were legitimate, rather than an attempt to influence government policy, it is interesting that Chief Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft has apparently gone uncriticised for his recent suggestion that New Zealand needs to get tough on alcohol to combat youth violence.
So, Minister, is there one rule for commenting on youth crime and another for commenting on general crime? Or is it possible that both Judge Becroft and Chief Justice Elias were just offering good, sound, on-the-ground suggestions for public debate?