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Open Letter To Min. Of Justice Phil Goff - UNHRC


24 August 2004


August 18, 2004

Phil Goff: Minister of Justice and Foreign Affairs. Member of Parliament, for Mt Roskill.

Dear Sir,

Open Letter re: Metrowater / Application for United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC)

The purpose of this letter is to present to you the following concerns in your capacity as a Member of Parliament, and as Minister of Justice and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

This letter is to formally advise you that a Judicial Complaint has been lodged with the Chief District Court Judge, requesting the removal of Judge Roderick Joyce from the bench.

A copy of this above-mentioned Judicial Complaint is attached to this letter.

(I am one of the Complainants, and one of the Appellants named in the recent decision by J Joyce that has triggered this request for his removal.)

This Judge has completely ignored the common law and commonsense fact that water is a vital necessity of life, and a basic human right upon which all other human rights are founded.

No water - no life.

Water as a basic human right has now been officially recognised by the United Nations.


General Comment No. 15 (2002) The right to water (Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights) 26 November 2002.

Water is a limited natural resource and a public good fundamental for life and health.

The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity.

It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights."

The public can have no confidence in the callibre of such Judges whose decisions continue to show, in our honestly held opinion - a repeated lack of honesty, integrity, impartiality, fairness and consistency.

No judicial infrastructure or 'quality systems' appear to exist to audit the performance or decisions of Judges or the Courts.

Judge Joyce relied heavily in his decision on (outdated) statute law - but the question of whether the statute law of parliament can override the sovereign common law of the people, has yet to be clarified by your Government.

The Prime Minister was asked in May to provide the authority which allows parliament to override the Sovereign Common Law.

This request to the Prime Minister, was passed on to Minister for State Services, Trevor Mallard, who replied(undated) to WPG member, Dilip Rupa as follows:

"Finally, whether or not Parliament has the authority to override the Imperial Common Law is a legal question which I would encourage you to seek advice on, should you have concerns…"

We therefore call upon you in your capacity as Minster of Justice for an immediate answer -

Does the statute law of parliament have the right to override the common law rights of the people.

yes, or no?

Please be advised that until you as Minister of Justice can state (with proof of your authority to so do) that the statute law of Parliament can override the common law rights - the basic human rights of the people - then Water Pressure Group (Auckland) members will be having their cases withdrawn from the Court because the jurisdiction of the Court is therefore in question.

We repeat - water is now recognised as a basic human right.

"11. Water should be treated as a social and cultural good, and not primarily as an economic good."


General Comment No. 15 (2002) The right to water (Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights) 26 November 2002.

Yet, an OIA reply received from Marion Hobbs, Minister for the Environment, on 22 April 2003, stated:

"1. There are no plans to fully incorporate water, as a basic human right, into domestic New Zealand law. This notion has not arisen as a policy issue for the government, and consequently there are no papers that relate to this issue. In your letter you draw attention to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights General Comment on the right to water (that relates to articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which New Zealand is a party).

I am advised that this right is conferred in very general terms and it is extremely unlikely that any change to matters such as the ownership or management of water supplies would give rise to a breach of this right. There is no evidence that New Zealand is in breach of the relevant articles in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights."

9) You are aware of the obligations you have to honor in regard to the conventions New Zealand has signed to date. You are reminded to take into consideration New Zealand’s failure to comply with the recommendations reported to the N.Z parliament to incorporate the Universal Declaration (UDHR) into New Zealand law in 1995 then again in 2002.

As Minister of Justice you had an influential role to play in insuring that the United Nations recommendations be implemented. The question is why have you not made sure that the Universal Declaration has been incorporated in N.Z statute law?

Why therefore, have you sought a seat on The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC)?

During your term as Minister of the two above portfolios the UNHRC has criticised New Zealand's failure to comply with the recommendations reported to the N.Z parliament to incorporate the Universal Declaration (UDHR) into New Zealand law. This was in 2002 and was a repeat of their 1995 report.

Had this been done one of our WPG members, Ike Finau, would not have faced three weeks imprisonment for defending his basic human right to freedom of expression, by refusing to take down signs on his front lawn. Another sentence violating basic human rights handed down by the same, above- mentioned J Joyce. Mr. Finau, to this day continues to show total condemnation of his ruling. This proves that the UNHRC can not trust N. Z. in the application you have made for a seat on the U.N. Human Right Committee.

Both the UDHR and Bill of Rights were shown total disregard by J Joyce‘s ruling, proving the Attorney General's letters to be false in her assurances to other members of our group that the courts respect our rights. We have already proven how incompetent this judge has been when dealing with Mr. Finau. So ridiculous was his decision that he had to reverse his ruling, in the process setting an international legal precedent - the first time in the history of the common law world that there has ever been a stay of an order of committal for contempt of court.

The public pressure caused by opposition to J Joyce's ruling on the 'Ike Finau signs case' , caused a major law change in the Local Government Act 2002.

"155 Determination whether bylaw is appropriate

No bylaw may be made which is inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, notwithstanding section 4 of that Act."

The other precedent caused here was that parliament voted against the Government.

According to the record of Parliamentary debate, every party in the House, with the exception of your governing Labour Party, supported the above-mentioned amendment.

A significant law change supporting human rights which all Labour Government Members of Parliament opposed - yet you as Minister of Justice and Foreign Affairs want New Zealand to have a seat on the UN HRC with this proven parliamentary track record of lack of support on basic human rights?

The by law J Joyce had upheld in his decision of 1 February 2002 ( NP 3350/01), had to be changed to comply with the UDHR. This was without direction from either the Attorney General or yourself.

This is in stark contrast to the instruction of your spokesman that was quoted in the Sunday Times May 16 2004 page A 15,stating “there was one set of rules for everyone. He urged judges to dismiss the defense immediately so courts were not wasting time hearing such cases with no legal foundation ‘’.

This raises the following relative questions.

i) How does this constitute judicial independence?

ii) Is directing of the courts by the Minister of Justice is now acceptable?

iii) If so, is this not unconstitutional?

iv) Another violation of WPG member Ike Finau's basic human rights, following on from his signs case, can also be illustrated by parking fines which the Minister of Courts stated, had to be paid even though he was made aware that:

v) The offence notice issuing authority was equally guilty of the offence.

vi) Photographic evidence was offered, by never requested proving council’s offence.

vii) Mr. Barker the Minister of Courts carried out his own investigation.

Again Mr. Finau refused to pay after the Minister findings on the grounds that Mr. Barker had:

viii) Displayed bias

ix) Displayed a poor standard of investigative skill for Ministerial level.

x) Ignored the apparent fact that the courts seemed more concerned with obtaining money than to see justice prevail.

xi) Failed to recognise that the issuing authority had shown prejudice because the vehicle had signs on them which J Joyce’s decision had extended coverage to without justification.

xiii) Failed to recognise the signage confusion which Mr. Finau had requested the Council to rectify. Instead they continue to use it as a form of entrapment.

xiv) Failed to recognise that the issuing authority was effectively being vindictive.

Most importantly the Minister, in Mr Finau's considered opinion, displayed a lack of integrity, failed in his responsibility to provide good government, failed to seek improvement to correct such an obvious flaw in the courts, and failed to do his job to the best of his ability.

In summary -

As Minister of Justice, you have no excuse to mislead the UNHRC that you are unaware of violations to the UDHR. Your electorate office is across the road from Metrowater’s offices.

You only have to ask the Water Pressure Group if you need any further information, after reading the attached Judicial Complaint.

You are invited to prove you are not as apparently stupid as your fellow Minister ‘Mr. Barker in his pathetic attempt to cover up for the court's failures, by not seeking the truth.

The compelling evidence before you proves that the incorporation of water as a basic human right into domestic New Zealand law needs urgent attention and implementation. The courts are treating water as a commercial commodity. Again in direct contrast to international human rights law.

"11. Water should be treated as a social and cultural good, and not primarily as an economic good."


General Comment No. 15 (2002) The right to water (Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights) 26 November 2002.

The other issue is that of the courts dismissing the Ancient Common Law. Such authority to do so is requested. Transparency of the working of parliament in a democracy is vital.

Your response will be made available as evidence to the Queen, Westminster and the United Nations as evidence accompanying your application for the New Zealand seat on the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

On behalf of the Water Pressure Group (Auckland)

David Douds Penny Bright
Constituent Media Spokesperson
Mt Roskill Electorate Water Pressure Group (Auckland)

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