Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Cross-Party Conference Lifts Trust to New Level

"Despite what others say, we've always been a-political and we think it is extremely symbolic for opposing parties to unite on such an important issue as justice."
Conference speakers this year include Prime Minster John Key, Police and Corrections minister Judith Collins and Justice minister Simon Power.


Monday 23rd August

Cross-Party Conference Lifts Trust to New Level

Cross-party support for the annual Sensible Sentencing Trust conference in Wellington tomorrow is an indication of how far the justice watchdog group has come in the past decade, says spokesman Garth McVicar.

In a first for the organisation, the Trust will hold the conference inside Parliament grounds, officially hosted by National, Labour and Act.

"It's a mark of how far the organisation has come to be able to pull off a cross-party conference in parliament. We tried in the early days and no one was interested," said Mr McVicar.

"Despite what others say, we've always been a-political and we think it is extremely symbolic for opposing parties to unite on such an important issue as justice."

Conference speakers this year include Prime Minster John Key, Police and Corrections minister Judith Collins and Justice minister Simon Power.

In an unusual twist, defence lawyer Greg King will speak directly before Gil Elliot, whose daughter Sophie's killer Clayton Weatherston was infamously represented by King, using the now outlawed provocation defence.

"Frankly it is more terrifying than facing up to five Law Lords in the Privy Council," said Mr King, whose speech will cover the much-asked question of how defence lawyers sleep at night.

New Zealand Parole Board Chairman Judge David Carruthers will also front-up to victims and families, who this year includes the family of young Hawke's Bay woman Cathy Marlow, violently murdered in London three years ago.

"Cathy's sister Debbie very bravely approached us and asked to speak at the conference about the huge advantages she feels her family had over those fighting for justice here in New Zealand.

"The family has never spoken publicly about the murder before and the speech (at 11.30am) is a one-off for Debbie, who wants New Zealanders to hear how the British justice system enabled the family to heal and move on."

Debbie will not be giving interviews to media at the conference, and has asked that copies of her speech not be forwarded to media.

As in the previous five years, the main aim of the conference is to bring victims and families together in a way that allows them to feel empowered and unified.

"Many of them tell us it is the only time of the year they feel normal, because they are surrounded by people who have shared their life-changing experiences losing a loved one and dealing with the justice system. There is no way we can do anything about the crime that has happened but if they can contribute to changing the system for the better that is empowering.

"It's not everybody's cup of tea but those that come know they will be in the limelight and are happy about that. Others prefer to take a back seat away from the media and just benefit from the collegiality that comes from all being together.

"I used to be the one getting the 2am phone calls, but thanks to the conference, families have met each other and now support each other."

The decision by the Charities Commission to deny the Sensible Sentencing Trust charitable status earlier in the year had threatened the viability of the conference and the organisation was especially pleased that this year's even was shaping up to be such a successful one despite the financial challenges.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>


Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>


Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>


Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>


Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>


Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>


School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>


IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>


Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>




InfoPages News Channels