More law less trust

December 11, 2018

The ODT”s Weekend Mix  had a profile of Otago University law Professor, Mark Henaghan. It’s not online but concluded with this:

The law tends to reflect society’s values, Prof Henaghan replies.

“There’s a wonderful saying by an American philosopher, ‘In hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be duly enforced.’

“Because in a way the more law you have the less you have to trust people.

The less you trust people, the more distrustful they become and so the more law you need in order to trust them. “

A good society would not have too much law, because people would do the right thing he says.

But in New Zealand we have a lot of law.

More law less trust, less trust more law, more law, less trust  . . .

Sad but true and even more so if read with this morning’s quote of the day from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:

Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.

When people don’t recognise the voice of their own conscience they don’t recognise the voice of justice and we have less trust and we need more law and then we get less trust. . .






Quote of the day

March 12, 2015

. . . our Nation is founded on the principle that observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty and defiance of the law is the surest road to tyranny. The law which we obey includes the final rulings of the courts, as well as the enactments of our legislative bodies. Even among law-abiding men few laws are universally loved, but they are uniformly respected and not resisted. Americans are free, in short, to disagree with the law but not to disobey it. For in a government of laws and not of men, no man, however prominent or powerful, and no mob however unruly or boisterous, is entitled to defy a court of law. If this country should ever reach the point where any man or group of men by force or threat of force could long defy the commands of our court and our Constitution, then no law would stand free from doubt, no judge would be sure of his writ, and no citizen would be safe from his neighbors. . . John F. Kennedy.

What do others at school think?

July 11, 2014

A Hastings school which lost a High Court battle over suspending a student for refusing to cut his hair has been ordered to pay more than $24,000 in costs.

Last month Justice David Collins ruled in favour of 16-year-old St John’s College student Lucan Battison, who successfully fought to keep his locks after being suspended.. .

The Battisons’ lawyer, Jol Bates, said costs of $24,159 had been awarded, which were a contribution towards the family’s legal expenses – about two-thirds of actual costs. . . .

I wonder what the other pupils, their parents, the school board and staff think of that?

Accessory to a crime?

April 1, 2013

Yesterday I popped into two New Worlds.

One was in Queenstown which the law permits to open.

The other wasn’t in Queenstown but isn’t far away and the law says it shouldn’t have been open.

Does that make me, and all the other people who took advantage of shops anywhere except Queenstown and Taupo, accessories to the crime of opening a shop on Easter Sunday?

Old rules don’t fit new media

January 27, 2012

The mainstream media is being very careful to not divulge the contents of the so-called teapot tapes.

But it wouldn’t take anyone who knows their way around the internet long to find the YouTube clip of the conversation recorded between John Key and John Banks.

The MSM is constrained by police advice it is an offence to disclose private communication unlawfully intercepted.

That could apply to websites based here but lots aren’t. It’s all over Twitter and some blogs also have links to the clip or enough information to help people looking for it.

And people are looking:

Yesterday evening the top search terms for this blog were:

Search Views
teapot tape transcript 49
teapot tapes transcript 21
blair mayne 7
mona blades 7
youtube teapot tape 7
you tube teapot tape 5
key banks tea tape transcript 4
teapot tapes transcript 26 january 4
teapot tape download 4

Whether or not the old rules apply to new media might be debatable but the coverage the tapes are getting on the internet show that there is enough uncertainty to leave old media at a disadvantage.

However, without divulging the contents almost everyone agrees there was nothing of great moment on the recording.

That has led political opportunists to say that proves John Key was wrong to make an issue of it.

On the contrary it shows he was motivated not by a desire to hide something but by principle.

All of us, whether or not we are public figures, ought to be able to have a conversation without the risk it might be recorded and made public without our knowledge or permission.

If to charge, who to charge?

July 14, 2011

Police are considering whether or not to lay charges against Labour for breaching the Electoral Act.

If they decide there’s a case to answer, they can’t charge the party it has to be an individual.

Who will that be?

The breach was made by not including an authorisation statement which is usually attributed to the party manager or secretary.

But it would be most unfair to charge a party employee for an omission which was almost certainly the fault, and responsibility, of the communications/campaign team.

Whoever was in charge, of the stop assets sales campaign ought to be the one to face charges should any be laid.



Who cares about the rules?

June 14, 2011

This was put in an Oamaru mail box yesterday:

The other side had a couple of baskets of groceries and quoted Campbell Live to show the price rise between them.

You might not be able to see the parliamentary crest which means you and I paid for it but it is there.

What isn’t there is a promoroter’s statement which the Electoral Commission says is required:

The Electoral Commission reminds all candidates, party secretaries and third party promoters that:

  1. An election advertisement, irrespective of when it is published, must contain a promoter statement.
  2. A promoter statement must state the name and address of the promoter of the election advertisement.

     5.     The promoter statement must be clearly displayed in the advertisement if published in a visual form and no      less audible than the other content of the advertisement if published in an audible form.

A person who wilfully publishes, or causes or permits to be published, an election advertisement in contravention of these requirements commits an offence.  Such matters will be referred to the Police unless the Commission considers that the offence is so inconsequential there is no public interest in reporting the facts to the Police.  Each instance will be considered on its merits.

All promoters of election advertisements should take reasonable steps to ensure that:

  1. Election advertisements are published in a manner that ensures the promoter statement is clearly displayed to the public viewing the advertisement.
  2. All persons entrusted with the task of erecting, posting, displaying, or otherwise publishing election advertisements are aware of the requirement to clearly display the promoter statement and that the statement should not be obscured, cropped, or in any other manner prevented from being clearly displayed to the public viewing the advertisement.

Whaleoil found a similar flyer and quoted the guidelines for MPs which say:

 . . .  an advertisement in any medium that may reasonably be regarded as encouraging voters to vote or not vote

  • for a candidate or party
  • or type of party or candidate by reference to views or positions that are or are not held . . .

 By that definition the flyer is an advertisement and therefore requires a promoter statement.

Ignorance is no defence and anyway it would be difficult for Labour to claim they were ignorant of the requirement. They voted for the law which made the promoter’s statement a requirement and Whaleoil’s post was published on Thursday. Someone in the party with authority would have seen it yet these flyers were still being distributed – illegally – yesterday.

Who care’s about the law? Labour doesn’t appear to in this case.

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