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


Marc My Words

Marc My Words

By Marc Alexander MP

Where's the Rule Book for the Parole Board game?

Well, at long last we have the Parole Board admitting that up to 150 of its decisions for some of New Zealand's worst criminals were made illegally! Most of us suspected the soundness of some of the decisions which were dubious, to put it charitably - and to have one of the Board's spokespeople challenge their legitimacy must surely be worth an inquiry.

It seems that the fracas is over whether an adviser (David Chaplow, the Health Ministry Health Director) had jeopardised some decisions by overstepping his role and taking part in the actual deliberations as if he was a Board member.

Given that 86% of all offenders are reconvicted within five years (most are released through parole provisions), the new difficulties highlighted by the Board spokesman will not do much to bolster public confidence in the parole process. Take sex offender and paedophile Peter Liddell. He already had 17 convictions for having victimised boys for more than 20 years as a social worker at Middlemore Hospital and guidance counsellor at Kings College, before he was released on parole in 1998, having served a paltry four years of a seven year (!) sentence. He has demonstrated his utter contempt for his victims, the rule of law and the rights of civil society, and he has betrayed the unwarranted charity that the parole process extended to him, by pleading guilty to yet another sexual violation (this time of a 15 year old boy). It is worrying enough that he was given parole; but that pred

More worrying however, is that it is not known if the Parole Board's review of the files has resulted in offenders being released from, or recalled to, prison. The nub of it all is this; we just don't know whether convicted prisoners should have come or gone!

Worse still - it might be that if illegalities could be established those convicted offenders affected could be eligible for compensation. It is indeed ironical that these Parole Board shenanigans could end up making crime pay! How will our law-abiding taxpayers feel about that - not to mention the victims of these criminals?

These Board members are appointed on the recommendation of the Attorney General, Margaret Wilson. And what does she say? Her response was, "It's an operational matter for the Parole Board to deal with". Hardly the take-charge, take-responsibility answer we should expect, but an evasive and underwhelming abrogation of responsibility.

Yet again, this response has undermined the integrity and confidence of that embattled institution, the Parole Board. Quite frankly, it's hard to take seriously an institution whose rationale is to undermine and cut short the sentences handed down by the Courts. It diminishes the denunciatory power of sentences; passes judgements contrary to much public expectation; and is now challenged by one of its own on the legality of some of its decisions.

It's not before time to put the failed experiment of Parole back into the closet of failed ideas.we are now wiser and we should move on.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news