Submitting to the Criminal Justice Advisory Group

It’;s fair to say I am not entirely happy with my experiences with the judicial system. I think there are ways it can be improved, so I have approached the Criminal Justice Advisory Group offering some input. They are visiting Dunedin and I will be able to meet them.

I have specific issues to address, but am open to other ideas to put forward.

Any suggestions on how our judicial system could be improved?

From Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata Safe and Effective Justice:  Criminal Justice Advisory Group to visit the regions

The Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group – Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora – is visiting towns and cities across New Zealand to hear what people want from their criminal justice system.

They will hold a series of meetings from mid-October 2018, including public drop-in sessions.

Chair of te Uepū, Hon Chester Borrows said he is looking forward to hearing from people whose lives and work are affected by the criminal justice system, and canvassing ideas on how it can be improved.

They will be in each region on the following dates:

  • Taranaki: 15 November
  • Whanganui/Manawatū/Horowhenua: 16-17 November
  • Otago/Southland: 19-21 November
  • Wellington: 23 November
  • West Coast: 27-28 November
  • Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa: 28-29 November
  • East Coast: 3-4 December
  • Tasman/Marlborough: 10-11 December

They plan to carry out further public engagement in 2019.

You can also make submissions: Tell us your views

We want to hear your views so we can have a conversation about building a better justice system.

What we will do with the information you give us

  • We will read the information you give us, and analyse it so we understand it.
  • We might use the findings to propose recommendations to the Minister of Justice on changing the justice system.

Submit here:



Russell Brown’s submission on medicinal cannabis bill

I am a journalist and one of my specialist areas is drug policy. In the course of my work, I have interviewed users, suppliers, doctors, police officers, researchers, activists and government ministers. But the story I want to tell you is a personal one.

My old friend died this year. He had survived three years since he was diagnosed with a kind of brain tumour called glioma multiforme – far longer than he was supposed to – but complications associated with his illness were eventually too much for his system and his health deteriorated rapidly in the weeks before his death.

Shortly before he was moved to a hospice, I had a conversation with his wife, another old friend, about medical cannabis. My friend had, with the approval of his oncologist, used a cannabis oil preparation (acquired as a gift) for some time while he battled his disease: a couple of drops rubbed into his gums before bed each night.

I can’t tell you that that prolonged his life. But there is a body of pre-clinical evidence that a balanced preparation of THC and CBD can help shrink tumours in glioma cases. His tumours shrank to the point where he was at one point declared cancer-free.

Our concern now was not with the cancer itself, but with his comfort and well-being through his final days. I agreed to try and source a product for him and, through the kindness of strangers, was able to source a good-quality medical oil.


My dear friend died in hospice, after a handful of deeply precious days in which he and his loved ones were able to say their goodbyes. It is my belief that the cannabis product helped him have those precious days, awake and aware. I would unhesitatingly break the law again to give him those days. And I believe it is wrong that I – or anyone else – should have to do that.


I ask you to consider taking a realistic and compassionate view and do the following:

• Use the regulations that will be attached to this bill to make the gesture towards the terminally ill work in the real world by allowing them to nominate an approved supplier, so they and their loved ones can safely access a safe product.

• Recognise that the terminally ill are not the only New Zealanders to derive benefit from cannabis products and allow others with chronic conditions to register to use these products.

• Provide specific protection for hospitals and hospices from prosecution under Section 12 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

• Allow a local industry to develop by allowing export of locally-produced products, and by not excluding those with existing convictions from participating in the industry.

• Allow self-growing under regulation.

• Enable research into growing, and clinical trials. The trend in the developing global industry is overwhelmingly towards breeding plants with desired attributes – an area in which New Zealand has a strong track record of IP development.

Brown comments:

I seem not to be the only one who sat in on these hearings and came away with the impression that the bill’s statutory defence may well be extended to those with chronic illnesses. If that happens, it’s huge. It’s worth bearing witness.

I hope that’s not just wishful thinking.

Are Greens ignorant or deliberately misleading?

The Greens have made two misleading claims today, one of them being a continuing misrepresentation of democracy.

The first:

Does he accept that only 25% of NZers want to change the flag whereas 87% of NZers are concerned about #climatechange? – @jamespeshaw #nzqt

That’s a basic misunderstanding of democracy – or a deliberate misrepresentation of how democracy works. A binding people’s referendum is about as democratic as you can get and about as good a measure of what people want as you can get. Greens wanted one for asset sales, but they don’t seem to want the flag referendums.

We won’t know how many New Zealanders want to change the flag until we have had both referendums on the flag.


Given #climate submissions outnumbered flag submissions by 15,000 to 2,300, does he think changing the flag is the right priority? #nzqt

The number of submissions is not a measure of support, but the Greens seem to often claim it is some sort of democratic measure.

It doesn’t measure anything other than the number of people who saw fit to submit. Or as seems oftne the case these days, the number of people the Greens can encourage to submit Green cu and paste templates so they can claim an erroneous level of support.

The Green PR machine even went to a bit of effort to embellish this bollocks.

A #climatetarget for the 0.5% #nzqt

Embedded image permalink

The graphic is sort of correct – it depicts a proportion of submitters.

But the tweet implies it was against 0.5% opposition, but against this is just a measure of how many people the Greens and others motivated to make mass submissions.

The only way of having an accurate measure of support is via a referendum – but as the first example shows, the Greens choose to disregard them when it suits their PR.

Are the Greens ignorant of how democracy works? Or do they deliberately misrepresent it?

GCSB and SIS review – public views sought

Public submissions are now being sought as part of the independent review of New Zealand’s intelligence and security legislation.

Michael Cullen and Patsy Reddy, who are carrying out the review, have put out a press release advising of the submission  process, asking the public for their views on “what the GCSB and NZSIS should be doing to protect New Zealand”.

I presume that allows for public views on what the GCSB and SIS shouldn’t be doing.

Intelligence and security reviewers seek public’s views

The independent reviewers examining New Zealands intelligence and security legislation are calling for public submissions.Intelligence and security reviewers seek public’s views

“We are seeking public submissions to help us determine what issues to focus on during the review,” says Sir Michael. “We want to hear your views on what the GCSB and NZSIS should be doing to protect New Zealand and how they should do it.”

“We also want to hear what would give you confidence that the agencies are acting in the best interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders while having due regard to their rights and freedoms,” says Dame Patsy.

The review will consider the legislation relating to the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS), and the oversight of the agencies. It will also assess whether the new legislative provisions introduced late last year by the Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill should be extended beyond their current expiry date of 1 April 2017.

Submissions will be open until 5pm on Friday 14 August 2015. You can make a submission online by visiting, or you can make a submission by email or post using the call for submissions document available on the website. The website also includes some resources to assist you in making a submission.

More details were given via a Q & A.

Questions about the review

Why is this review being carried out?

Legislation passed in 2013 made several changes to clarify the law governing the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and improve oversight of New Zealand’s intelligence and security agencies – the GCSB and New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).

One of these changes was to introduce regular independent reviews of the intelligence and security agencies and their governing legislation.

Regular reviews will help to ensure the law keeps up with changing risks to national security, while protecting individual rights and maintaining public confidence in the agencies.

Who is conducting the review?

Hon Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy are the independent reviewers, appointed by the Acting Attorney-General Hon Amy Adams in consultation with the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.

Biographies of the independent reviewers are available at

What will the review cover?

The review will determine:

1. Whether the legislative frameworks of the intelligence and security agencies (GCSB and NZSIS) are well placed to protect New Zealand’s current and future national security, while protecting individual rights;

2. Whether the current oversight arrangements provide sufficient safeguards at an operational, judicial and political level to ensure the GCSB and NZSIS act lawfully and maintain public confidence.

The full terms of reference for the 2015 review can be viewed at:

How long will the review take?

The review will be completed by the end of February 2016.

When can I read the independent reviewers’ report?

The independent reviewers must provide the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament with a report containing the results of their review by the end of February 2016.

After the Committee has considered the report, the Committee must present the report to the House of Representatives subject to any restrictions on the disclosure of information under section 18(3) of the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996.

Where can I find more information about the review?

The Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996 establishes the statutory framework for the review. You can read the Act at

The announcement from Hon Amy Adams appointing the independent reviewers, including biographies of the independent reviewers and the full terms of reference for the 2015 review, can be viewed at:

The notice in the New Zealand Gazette can be read at:

Any future announcements about the review will be posted on

What other reviews of the intelligence agencies have there been?

There have been a number of reviews in recent years relating to specific aspects of the intelligence and security agencies, for example the Murdoch review in 2009 and the Kitteridge review in 2012. The agencies in the core New Zealand Intelligence Community were also subject to a Performance Improvement Framework Review in late 2013. However, this will be the first review to look at the broader legislative framework and oversight of the agencies.

How does the review relate to the Law Commission’s work on classified information in court proceedings?

The Law Commission’s work has a specific focus on the rules and processes governing use and protection of security sensitive information in court proceedings. However, it is anticipated that the Law Commission’s work will complement the wider review.

While both pieces of work will proceed independently, there will be opportunities for the Commission and independent reviewers to share research and thinking if common issues arise.

Questions about the submissions process

When can I make a submission?

Submissions are open until 5.00pm on Friday 14 August 2015.

How can I make a submission?

You can make a submission online or download the consultation document to make a written submission at Written submissions can be emailed to or posted to IRIS Support Team, Ministry of Justice, Level 3 – Justice Centre, 19 Aitken Street, Wellington, DX SX10088.

I don’t know the answer to some of the consultation questions. Do I have to answer them all?

No, you do not need to answer all of the questions. None of them are mandatory.

Why is my submission being sent to the Ministry of Justice?

As stated in section 26 of the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for providing administrative, secretarial, and other support to the independent reviewers. This includes assisting with public consultation.

What happens with my submission?

Your submission will help the independent reviewers to decide what issues the review should focus on within the broad terms of reference. Your submission is sought for the purposes of this independent review only. It will not be shared with government agencies other than the Ministry of Justice (which is providing administrative support for the review) or released publicly.

After the independent reviewers have considered your submission, the independent reviewers or a member of the Ministry of Justice support team may wish to contact you to discuss your submission. At the beginning of the submission form you will be asked to indicate whether you are willing to be contacted for this purpose.

Dotcom/van der Kolk GCSB Amendment submission

Kim Dotcom and Bram van der Kolk have made a submission to the Intelligence and Security Committee on the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill. They have requested to appear before the committee.

Executive summary

  1. This Bill seems to give the GCSB, a dysfunctional agency which has failed at every turn in recent
    times, virtually unlimited power to surveil us all at the whim of the Prime Minister and then
    to share that information with anyone (including foreign entities). Oversight of that power is
    limited or non-existent.
  2. The Bill is a clear example of the type of State intelligence agency overreach that has been
    strongly criticised by the UN Special Rapporteur in his Report … on the promotion and protection
    of the right to freedom of opinion and expression 1.
  3. Our primary submissions are:
    6.1  More time should be taken to consider and debate this Bill and the related
    Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill (TICS Bill).
    6.2  The extreme general expansion of the GCSB’s powers is not justified.
    6.3  Spying on New Zealanders is unwarranted without adequate safeguards, which the Bill
    does not provide.
    6.4  The ability of the GCSB to share New Zealanders’ private information with anyone the
    Prime Minister decides, in New Zealand or overseas, is far too wide.
    6.5  Proposed amendments to related legislation should be enhanced to provide adequate
    oversight of the GCSB’s operations.


  1. In summary, we are shocked that anyone would consider giving additional powers to the GCSB
    when it has shown that it is incapable of acting legally.
  2. If such powers are to be allocated, they need to be carefully considered; not rammed through
    with urgency to paper over those illegalities. The Bill submission date should be extended as
    should the time by which the Committee must report back to Parliament.
  3. Any powers which are allocated must not allow for information gathering and retention about New
    Zealanders and New Zealand businesses without judicial warrant and independent parliamentary
    committee oversight. It is very concerning that the Bill proposes that the Prime Minister would issue
    interception warrants without any judicial oversight, which warrants would enable information
    about New Zealanders to be gathered, retained and shared (including with overseas bodies).
  4. Any surveillance of New Zealanders should only be engaged in by the SIS, to prevent this
    indiscriminate sharing with overseas intelligence agencies. The Mutual Assistance in Criminal
    Matters Act (if complied with) provides an appropriate existing mechanism for such sharing.