Justice minister Andrew Little (Radio NZ, Rebekah Parsons-King)
Justice minister Andrew Little (Radio NZ, Rebekah Parsons-King)

The BulletinDecember 13, 2019

The Bulletin: A new direction for justice

Justice minister Andrew Little (Radio NZ, Rebekah Parsons-King)
Justice minister Andrew Little (Radio NZ, Rebekah Parsons-King)

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Andrew Little indicates justice system changes after reports, Auckland buses back on the road, and National release health proposals. 

Two significant reports for the justice sector were released yesterday. The first was Turuki! Turuki! Transforming our Criminal Justice System from the Chester Borrows-led Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group. It is a culmination of the group’s work away from punitive approaches to crime and punishment, and argues for a range of proposals that take the sector in a different direction, reports Te Ao News. Justice minister Andrew Little signalled that there would be big changes to the system in line with the reports.

In particular, there was a recognition of the pathway towards far more focus on rehabilitation, with an aim to create more community-based facilities outside of prisons. “Rehabilitation centres instead of prisons that’s been a suggestion that is 30 years old it’s in line with saying let’s do more on a community based level but none of this stuff can happen at a click of a finger,” said Chester Borrows.

Stuff reports that there have also been calls for cannabis legalisation and regulation within the reports, along with a strengthening of alcohol regulations. The idea there was that drug regulation generally should be more consistent. Little said the new specialist drug courts were having an effect on reducing reoffending, and the government is now set to make the trials of such courts permanent.

The other report is called Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform, and has been put out by the Chief Victims Advisor. Law Points has an outline of what this one is all about – the top lines are that it calls for far greater access to support and information for victims of crime, reduce barriers to reporting crime, and greater advocacy for victims. One News reported comments from report author Dr Kim McGregor, who spoke of a “growing crisis of confidence in our justice system from a victim’s perspective.”

The Auckland buses are back on the road, after drivers ceased industrial action, reports Radio NZ. It follows a week a week-long lockout of drivers by NZ Bus, which led to widespread service cancellations. Auckland Council have voted to step into the dispute, which unions say will involve ongoing negotiations, despite being back at work. That full Council resolution can be found within the FIRST Union press release, and interestingly it involves a request to mayor Phil Goff to contact the transport minister, and ask that the ongoing review of the public transport operating model be given more urgency.

National have released their latest discussion document, this time on health. Newshub reports the proposals include reinstituting health targets which were scrapped by the new government, and an improvement in dental services for schoolkids. Stuff has led with another angle on it – that the party is considering whether DHB elections should be scrapped. It’s part of a wider look at simplifying the DHB system, in which costs are rising far more quickly than funding is provided.

A recovery operation is underway to retrieve the bodies still on Whakaari. The details of the operation were outlined last night, reports One News, with a range of organisations involved. Stuff has a live blog of the operation, which was happening right at the time of writing.

More visitors than ever are coming through New Zealand, reports Business Desk (paywalled). There are about 50,000 fewer from Asia, though that is offset by visitors from Australia and the USA. The growth in tourist numbers is slowing overall, but tourism spending is up by quite a bit for the year to March. Overall the sector contributes about 20% of the country’s export revenue.

Some announcements were made on Auckland’s port yesterday. Or rather, as the NZ Herald reports, a government work programme will now be put in place so that a final decision can be announced some time next year. Basically, a move up to Northland just isn’t a done deal yet. For an idea why, this from the NZ Herald’s (paywalled) David Fisher has a lot of insights into the complex and competing hapu claims on land that Northport would need to expand into. And for a cynical view of all of this, look no further than Bernard Hickey’s piece in Newsroom – it came out before the announcements, but absolutely nailed why some are skeptical about the prospects of such a massive project getting off the ground.

Eden Park wants pre-approval to go ahead with their allocated six concerts a year, reports the NBR (paywalled) They say it’s currently impractical to get an individual resource consent for each one they want to host, and it makes it harder to get the stadium out of its current financial strife. They’ve also offered an olive branch to those locals who are opposed to more concerts, saying they’re willing to go ahead and build an already-consented acoustic  barrier around the stadium.

Say Something Nice about a Journalist 2019: Today’s shout came from Daniel, and it really is a remarkable piece of timing. I’ll start with what he had to say about RNZ Pacific’s Mackenzie Smith:

“He has been tirelessly covering the oft-neglected island nation of Tokelau for RNZ Pacific. The last few years have seen some big stories with Mack covering the Tokelauan helicopter fiasco, from its initial emergence from parliamentary backrooms, to its eventual finale in the first case ever heard in the Tokelau high court in Wellington. It is great journalists like Smith and the others at RNZ Pacific are helping to shape the national psyche, to realize that New Zealand is a Pacific nation, with economic, social, and legal obligations to our cousins north of Te Rerenga Wairua.”

And then just yesterday, Smith released this story about $10 million simply going missing from the Tokelau government. The auditor general doesn’t know what it was spent on, and it’s just gone. Maybe it was spent correctly, maybe it was misappropriated, but there’s just absolutely no documentation to say either way.

Got some feedback about The Bulletin, or anything in the news? Drop us a line at thebulletin@thespinoff.co.nz

Stills from videos posted to Twitter by members of the #TurnArdern brigade; and tweets responding

Right now on The Spinoff: We’re hooning towards the end of the year with some great pieces. Michelle Duff writes about the strange protest of people turning her book about Jacinda Ardern around in shops. Josie Adams goes deep into the Tik Tok phenomenon, and how local artist Benee has blown up on it. Maria Slade reviews the decades biggest business stories. Madeleine Chapman tells the story of Barbara Cox’s struggle to get women’s football taken seriously. Catherine McGregor reviews the decade’s weirdest and wildest scandals. I spoke to National leader Simon Bridges about cynicism, misinformation and infrastructure spending.

This one was among the most enjoyable reads I’ve had recently. Kristin Hall has looked back on the McDonald’s Young Entertainers era, and tracked down those who were in it to find out how it shaped their life afterwards.

And finally, here’s the last episode of the season for Two Sketches, the beautifully meditative Toby Morris interview show. In this one he’s speaking to Sir Michael Hill (golfer, jeweller, violin enthusiast etc.) I’d highly encourage you go back and watch more of the series over summer, it’s just lovely.

For a feature today, an explainer on what Harvey Weinstein’s settlement involves, and who will get paid out. The Cut have collected the key questions around the disgraced movie mogul’s deal, and how he appears to be getting away with it. A note – he will still face criminal trial, and this settlement relates to those who have accused him of sexual harassment and assault through civil courts. Here’s an excerpt:

While there were initially talks of a $90 million victims’ fund if the Weinstein Company were sold outside of bankruptcy, that all changed when the company entered bankruptcy proceedings. (Some people blame disgraced former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman for scuttling an earlier proposed sale.)

Now that the company is in bankruptcy, insurance policies belonging to it and its directors are likely covering the entirety of the proposed settlement, including legal fees. Of an overall $47 million settlement, the Times reports that more than $12 million will go to legal fees for Weinstein and other board members, which is likely because of provisions in the insurance policies that cover the board’s legal expenses.

Despite being injured, Ricardo Christie has pulled off a significant upset in the surfing world, in the final event of the year. Stuff reports he has managed to beat highly-ranked Filipe Toledo in the Pipe Masters in Hawaii, to advance to the round of 16. Christie’s chances of winning the Pipe Masters are slim, but if he does he’ll guarantee himself a spot on next year’s tour – if not he could end up missing the cut.

And in the cricket, a mixed opening day for the Black Caps in their quest to knock Australia off in an away test series. In form Australian top order batsman Marnus Labuschagne has scored his third century in as many games, to carry his team through to 248-4 at the end of the first day. For New Zealand, Wagner kept them in the game with the crucial wickets of Warner and Smith. Lockie Ferguson had a horror debut – Stuff reports he limped off with a suspected calf injury around tea, and he may not be able to continue the game.

That’s it for The Bulletin. If you want to support the work we do at The Spinoff, please check out our membership programme.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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