Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Keep Criminal Law for Criminals


Keep Criminal Law for Criminals

The Astrid Andersen case shows we must restore criminal law to its proper sphere - controlling and punishing criminals, not well meaning people who make an unfortunate mistake, ACT New Zealand Sport and Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"When 111 calls for help go unsatisfied, when the law can't even guarantee a response to deliberate criminality it is madness to pour top police and prosecution resources into hounding folk who set out to help, not hurt," Mr Franks said.

"Before ACC, the prospect of negligence lawsuits kept carelessness at bay - but negligence recognises consent and reasonableness in a way that criminal law can't.

"Astrid Andersen's punishment has punished every Kiwi. It punishes all Kiwi kids who want someone to show them to be as self-reliant as their granddad. Every father who hopes someone will run a scout troop, take his kids on a bush experience, lead a kayaking trip, or even volunteer to coach a sport where someone could be hurt, has been punished today.

"No one excuses recklessness, and everyone feels for victims of unintended harm, but law punishing inadvertent mistakes steals freedom from every Kiwi. It steals our freedom to let someone organise something, or to let us do something that could hurt. Most volunteers will only do something for us if we accept the risk they might make a mistake. All we ask is that they act in good faith, taking the same care they would for themselves or their family. Our side of the bargain is to accept responsibility for misfortune when we have taken the risk. Using criminal law against them means they'll stop offering, and we lose the choice.

"Volunteers exposed to unlimited liability and criminal prosecution if something goes wrong won't volunteer. Why should they? Most accidents look avoidable in hindsight.

"When volunteers must be paid to take these risks, we deprive New Zealanders of activities that are part of our national character and lifestyle. Our least well-off suffer first. We can't afford to do everything we've traditionally done for ourselves, or each other, if they can only be done by paid experts. Paid experts pass on their costs, including insurance premiums.

"ACT is committed to cutting red tape and protecting the New Zealand traditions of community self help, and volunteering. I'm hopeful the Greens will support ACT in this.

"Adventure playgrounds wrapped in cotton wool, so there is no adventure, could even cost lives. Children, who might have been introduced early to the potentially hazardous outdoors - like swimming away from city pools - may now have no supervised experience before their first, and possibly fatal, exposure to risk as young adults. If official race organisers are priced or frightened off the market, some people will still race. But, like `boy racer' racing, it will be `illegal', `unauthorised' and probably more dangerous," Mr Franks said.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods (is the dollar up or down?) the outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Submissions Summary: The People's Commission On Public Media

This Summary is a preliminary report from the People’s Commission. It brings together views and aspirations of the hundreds of people who made submissions, attended public meetings, filled out the online survey and made speeches to our Panel. More>>

Housing Plans: Protest Over Ihumatao Development

Ihumatao in Mangere, next to the airport in Auckland, holds the archaeological remains of 1000 years of food production; from when Maori first landed in the area, through to early European settler agriculture and right up until today. More>>

ALSO:

Negotiations: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word.. More>>

ALSO:

Contains Highly Colloquial Language: Your F**king Guide To Government Formation

The following message is in no way endorsed by the Electoral Commission. They are f**king done with this election. More>>

NZ Emissions Up 50% 1990-2013: Report Confirms CLimate Change Impacting NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: Inland Revenue Steps Back From Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election