Waitangi Day 2020

I’m a long way from Waitangi day geographically  – it seems to be a northern Māori and politician dominated event.

I’ve always been quite  distance from it emotionally as well, never having felt much of a connection to the occasion.

And I’m not much into pomp and ceremony either.

That’s the context for a few talking points.

I presume most of the political posturing is over, that seems to be what some of them do in the preceding days.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has read ‘her prayer’ at the dawn service.

“Today we pray for our people, our history, and our future”.

I guess she has to say something like that, but I’ve never been into praying, I’d prefer religion was left out of things in a secular country.

“On this 180th Waitangi Day let us pledge to take us across the bridge between two peoples”.

“Give us the courage to learn to walk comfortably in each others shoes”.

“May we unite in kindness and care toward one another”.

‘Pledge’ sounds better. This sounds a bit flowery but ok, except that “across the bridge between two people” suggests quite a divide, and I think things are a lot more complex “two peoples” – there are many families of ‘two peoples’, or three or more.

There’s some pretty stark ‘them and us’ stuff obvious in places like Kiwiblog comments, but we would be better off for looking at common ground and common purpose more. This means accepting more Māori culture and input but I think that is good and necessary, to go with whatever other cultures that have been imported and have evolved.

And problems that affect Māori more, and have struggled with imported type solutions that haven’t solved things, should try more of a Māori orientated approach, including al of health, education, social welfare and crime.

What does Waitangi Day mean to you? He aha te tikanga o te Rangi o Waitangi ki a koe?

As I said, not much, but Stuff give Mai Chen, Jim Bolger, Jeremy Wells, Meng Foon, Matthew Tukaki, Mike Smith, Jeremy Corbett and Georgina Beyer a say.

Criminal Cases Review Commission

Felix Geiringer @BarristerNZ

The system that let #Pora down is the same system we have in place today. NZ needs a Criminal Cases Review Commission. #NZCCRC

I agree. It needs to be independent of the Police, who have proven too often that they protect their own mistakes too often. They cost Pora twenty years of his life with not only a false conviction but by protecting that conviction rather than supporting fair justice.

This has been talked about for some time.

Stuff last year: Miscarriages of justice targeted by NZ academics, lawyers

A decade ago, a retired High Court judge, Sir Thomas Thorp, argued that New Zealand needs a body similar to the UK’s Criminal Cases Review Commission, created in the wake of such high-profile injustices as the case of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four. Working off British examples, Thorp estimated that there are likely to be 20 innocent people in New Zealand jails at any one time.

The Ministry of Justice didn’t take up Thorp’s recommendation then and it hasn’t picked up similar recommendations since. Unsurprisingly, the ministry was sceptical about whether Thorp’s 20 innocent people was even an accurate guess.

Former National MP Richard Worth proposed a members bill to create such a body in 2007 but the ministry recommended that the Labour Government of the day not adopt it.

More recently, the National Government position is that the current system works just fine.

This week, Justice Minister Amy Adams repeated her reassurance in a statement to The Press: “The recent cases show the system is already capable of correcting miscarriages of justice when they occur, either through appeals (sometimes many years later) or through the Royal Prerogative of Mercy process when appeals have been exhausted.”

Is it working fine?

No it isn’t in too many cases, especially where police and the justice system seem to actively resist putting right major wrongs.

The Equal Justice project:

The UK CCRC is an independent body that has the power to refer cases to appellate level courts, which occurs when the commission determines that there is a “real possibility” that such a court would either quash a conviction or modify a sentence. Such a body operating in New Zealand would aid in addressing the multitude of factors in the criminal justice process that contribute to wrongful convictions, helping review and resolve cases where justice has not been achieved. It would act as a safety valve to ensure that the outcomes of the criminal justice system are fair.

Whilst comprised of many distinguished and influential individuals, the NZPP is an unofficial body. This means that unlike the CCRC, the NZPIP does not have the power to refer a case back to an appellate court by means of a statutory mechanism. They are however able to make applications to appeal courts. Whilst this does create something of a safety valve, it means that the NZPIP’s investigations have less of an immediate impact on individual cases than that of an official review commission.

Nevertheless, the foundation of a group like the NZPIP is a first step towards establishing a parliament-mandated independent review commission. The NZPIP is also essential to ensuring that those who believe they are subject to a miscarriage of justice are able to challenge their conviction without having to rely on the extremely limited public funding for such appeals.

From the New Zealand Police Conduct Association: Criminal Cases Review Commission

ccrc-1

It works in other countries and if you look at the David Bain case, the Teina Pora case, the Peter Ellis and Scott Watson cases, just to name a few;  you will already know we need one. I only mention these high profile cases because most of you would have heard of them, I have no doubt there are many more.

A Criminal Cases Review Commission would be a non-departmental, public body.  The Commission would aim to investigate possible miscarriages of justice.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission would not only look at serious matters such as rape and murder, it would also look into minor convictions.  The convictions of anyone who claimed to be innocent.  That being said, there would be a screening process that would weed out the less/not  genuine cases.

People assisting the commission or assisting citizens with their applications to the Commission could be people who have the experience of being wrongfully convicted and have used such a process or be lawyers or family.  A citizen could apply to the Commission directly or use a lawyer.  Lawyers would be able to get Legal Aid for their assistance as they do in other countries.

It is time New Zealand had one – recently a lot of evidence has  been aired in the media that points to Teina Pora being innocent, yet he sits in jail still.  He has already served 20 years for a rape and murder he clearly didn’t commit.

How do the police end up prosecuting a man who didn’t even know where his victims home was and who had no history of these offences?

How did the courts find this innocent man, guilty?

This is not Justice!  Our Justice system is not one we have any reason to be proud of.

ccrc-1

Trump bursts through the pundit ceiling

It’s been common to see claims that Donald Trumps popularity was probably limited to somewhere in the thirties, and that as opponents dropped out the combined not-Trump vote for the survivor will float  past his ceiling.

The Nevada result has blown that theory out of the water, if early poll results are an indicator of what the the final result might be.

  • Trump 46.6%
  • Rubio 23.8%
  • Cruz 19.9%
  • Carson 5.5%
  • Kasich 3.8%

Trump is already being called the winner.

Even if Carson and Kasich drop out if anything like this flows through to other results it may not be close until it’s a two horse race.

That’s twice in a row Rubio has pipped Cruz.

Washington Post reports: In Nevada caucuses, Trump gets a third straight win

Donald Trump convincingly won the Nevada presidential caucuses here Tuesday evening, the Associated Press projected, accelerating his march to the Republican nomination as his top two rivals fell short here despite aggressive campaigning in the closing days.

An angry electorate hungry for a political outsider in the White House handed Trump his third straight win in the GOP primary race as the billionaire mogul used visceral rhetoric to tap into anxieties about the economy, terrorism and illegal immigration.

An ‘angry’ electorate strongly supports a Washington outsider.

Early entrance polling reported by CBS News showed that nearly 6 in 10 caucus-goers said they were angry at the federal government, and a similar percentage wanted the next president to be a political outsider.

It may be a bizarre circus but it’s a fascinating one.

UPDATE: The numbers moved around a bit as the count came in but here are the finals results:

  • Trump 45.9%
  • Rubio 23.9%
  • Cruz 21.4%
  • Carson 4.8%
  • Kasich 3.6%

That’s a convincing win for Trump, but it’s just one state.

Barmy beach

I don’t know how balmy the weather is at the beach at Awaroa Inlet but the attempt to buy the property there and gift it to the public has taken a barmy turn with Gareth Morgan offering to provide a big dollop of cash – providing he and his family get exclusive use of part of the property for 10 or fifteen years or as long as they want to use it for.

I wonder if I offered a hundred dollars I could get some exclusive use? But that wouldn’t be much use to me, I can’t afford a launch or a helicopter to get there and use it.

And also barmy is Morgan’s suggestion that they need to work out a deal with the owner  that ensures they will win the tender.

Morgan is concerned that the $2 million being raised won’t be anywhere near enough to win the tender. He may be right. But I don’t think a tender process usually allows one party to be guaranteed to win the tender.

While the aim is to gift the property to the public there’s only going to be a very small number of the public who get to use it, if Morgan allows them to.

Previous post on this: Awaroa Beach – public, not political

I hope politicians have backed off thinking about Government funding for this. Buying a beach that a hundred people a year might get to use is also barmy.

 

John Key’s new website

A new website (under the national.org.nz domain) has been launched focussing on John Key.

“I want to leave New Zealand in better shape than I found it. I know the job of Prime Minister is not forever and I’m going to do the best I can every day to make that difference.”

I would expect every Prime Minister to have had that sort of ambition.

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not given Labour’s new policy announcement but education is a feature.

Views on Education

Education is a big focus for John. He shares his personal thoughts about why it’s so important for every New Zealand child to get the best education possible.

It lists policies that Key claims to have “personally pushed through” but it is generally very palavery.

I believe ensuring every child in New Zealand gets a great education is one of the most important things we can do as a government. That’s why we’ll continue to work hard to make that happen.

Bland spin. Ok, he might mean it but it’s hardly a vote winner.

It also features a Q&A:

To kick off 2016, we sat down with John Key and put some questions to him about the year ahead, why he wanted to become Prime Minister, and what he enjoys most about the job.

Again most are fairly bland, like “How was your summer break?” and “What’s your favourite meal or some of your favourite foods to eat?”.

Even priorities for this year fails to reveal anything much of real interest.

Q. What are your priorities for 2016?

The economy is going to be an important part of what we’re trying to continue to work on this year.

We have, I think in fairness, every year we’ve been in government tried to lift living standards and opportunities for New Zealanders and make the economy more both robust and competitive but it’s quite clear that we can already see the challenges in somewhere like China at the moment, the volatility that’s likely to be there in the international markets, but also the opportunity for New Zealand.

Our economy is diversifying, it’s doing well, wages are growing, job opportunities are rising but it’s something you’ve got to constantly work at, and this year will be no exception so that will be important.

I think security issues will continue to be an issue, we’ve already seen these terrible terrorist attacks around the world, most recently in Indonesia, but of course in Paris, prior to Christmas, so that’ll be an important issue.

We’ve also got quite a lot of work we’re doing on what I’d define as social agenda issues, and working on how we help the most vulnerable in our society.

The News page just repeats what is already on the main National party website.

Unless there are things of real interest added this site is likely to be largely ignored or skim read at best, if anyone finds it.