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To New Minister of Justice Let’s Do Justice Differently

Media Release : A Note to the New Minister of Justice –Let’s Do Justice Differently

Date : 3rd October 2014


In Rethinking Crime and Punishment’s latest Blog, Kim Workman talks about the events of the last month, and its impact on our ideas about justice.

In a note to the new (and yet unknown) Minister of Justice, he refers to the last month as something of a roller-coaster ride. “The ‘Dirty Politics’ saga revealed actions and activities that bore little resemblance to our ideas about how democracy should work, and exposed a political leadership that was mean, vengeful, and inherently evil. By way of contrast, and in the same month, there were public acts of peacemaking and reconciliation of the highest order, which stand as shining exemplars of the way in which justice should be done.” He contrasts the ‘getting even’ philosophy and ‘paying back double’ of the former Minister of Justice, to the Police Commissioner’s apology to Tuhoe about the 2007 Police treatment of Ruatoki residents, and the Attorney General’s apology to Tuhoe for Crown action dating back to the 1860’s.
“The values and options that guide our economic development are intimately linked to the fabric of our cultural values, which are in turn deeply influenced by our past. The traumas and triumphs of our past shapes and informs our identity and the way we perceive our mission for the future. It certainly shapes the way we do justice. What were contained in these two apologies was a clear and honest acknowledgement of our history, and a declaration of our fitness to be a trusted covenant partner with the Tuhoe nation. A healthy ‘economy of memories’ is the founding principle of dependable, authentic and just politics. That is how we need to do justice, fromMonday on.”

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The new Minster of Justice will know he or she is successful when they are able to open a Conference on Cyber-bullying without a twinge of guilt. When they are able to speak about restorative justice knowing that ‘making an apology’ is not a sign of weakness, but a symbol of strength. When they encourage broad and open discussion about what real justice looks like, and how it can be achieved.”

Members of the Justice Sector are looking forward to working with a new Minister. We look forward even more to being once again, a nation that loves justice, and regards robust , honest and open politics as a force for good.


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