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


What's So Hard - Is It Other Ministers?

What's So Hard - Is It Other Ministers?

Tuesday 21 Sep 2004

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Crime & Justice

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today asked what was so complex about the law needed to stop the prisoner payment lawsuits, that it has taken five months and still not even a date for introduction of a Bill.

"Surely it can't be the argument that criminals must have all normal human rights - even the Greens have to admit they've lost the basic one: the right to liberty," Mr Franks said.

"Does Associate Justice Minister Rick Barker need a few precedents? I served as a Territorial in the NZ Army. When I signed up, and later held a commission, I did not object to the loss of my rights to sue - under Section 9 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1950. The Crown can pay a disability pension, and no judge can then say I must get extra damages.

"Hardship and accidents go with the territory. Lawyers don't. Why should criminals not learn that the same goes for those who volunteer for prison, by committing crime. The trial is the lawyers' time - it should be too late after the prison doors close.

"Is there a deadlock in Cabinet? Has Mr Barker run into the usual Left-wing support for the poor criminals, victims of the repressive State who've had the misfortune to end up in prison. Why the delay? Working on my own, I produced a workable Bill in one week.

Admittedly, I've had plenty of drafting experience but, presumably, Ministers haven't tied up all their drafters on their current priorities of archives reorganisation, gay marriage and compulsory unionism.

"When Harry Duynhoven MP applied for Dutch citizenship last year, and risked a by-election, Labour had a burst of speed. The Electoral Vacancies Amendment Bill was introduced, had its first reading, went through its entire committee stages and had its third reading all on August 6 2003. The Governor-General's signature was secured the next day.

"And why have we heard nothing from Corrections Minister Paul Swain, when the scandal is in his portfolio? He used weeks of Parliamentary time on this year's Corrections Act, to hand our only privately managed prison back to prison officer union control. At the same time, he gave the UN Rules on prisons the force of law in New Zealand. Now he can tell voters it doesn't matter what they say in referendums, he's made it illegal to introduce hard labour.

"Those rules also prohibit making prisons any more unpleasant than they have to be. One of New Zealand's top law firms warned that the new Act would be a bonanza for lawyers - Mr Swain ignored them.

"Is the Minister the obstacle to getting a Bill to fix this scandal? New Zealanders deserve to know what his view is. Is Mr Swain so wedded to his daft new Act - passed only three months ago - that he has Cabinet deadlocked? Why is a prohibition good enough for our service people, but not good enough for criminals?


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Emissions Reduction Plan Non-Event

Clearly, the attempt to take the politics out of climate change has itself been a political decision, and one meant to remove much of the heat from the global warming issue before next year’s election. What we got from yesterday’s $2.9 billion Emissions Reduction Plan was a largely aspirational multi-party commitment to the direction of policy on climate change...


Budget: Climate Investments Provide Path To Economic Security
The Government is investing in New Zealand’s economic security by ensuring climate change funding moves away from short-term piecemeal responses and towards smart, long-term investment... More>>


Budget: Updated My Vaccine Pass For Those Who Want It

New Zealanders who are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations will be able to download an updated My Vaccine Pass from 24 May, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Speaker: 2022 Register Of Pecuniary And Other Specified Interests Presented
The 2022 Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament was presented in the House today. It contains a summary of members’ interests as at 31 January 2022... More>>

Classification Office: Following Decision To Ban Manifesto The Buffalo Mass Shooting Livestream Is Now Banned
The livestream video of yesterday’s mass shooting in the United States has now been banned, Acting Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson announced this morning. The decision follows on from his decision yesterday to call in and ban the ‘manifesto... More>>

Borders: New Zealand Poised To Welcome International Students Back
New Zealand is fully reopening to international students and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Inland Revenue: Commissioner Appointed
Deputy Public Service Commissioner Helene Quilter QSO has today announced the appointment of Peter Mersi to the position of Commissioner and Chief Executive, Inland Revenue Department... More>>




InfoPages News Channels