NZ 6th for rule of law

March 7th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand has been ranked sixth overall in a global index measuring the rule of law.

The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index surveyed 99 countries on eight categories including government accountability, crime, corruption, fundamental rights, access to justice and order and security.

New Zealand came sixth after Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.

That’s not bad.

New Zealand also came second in the index’s open government category – beaten only by Norway – and third in the absence of corruption category.

Even better.

The country reports are here. NZ’s sub-rankings are:

  1. Open Government 2nd
  2. Absence of Corruption 3rd
  3. Constraints on Government Powers 4th
  4. Regulatory Environment 5th
  5. Fundamental Rights 7th
  6. Civil Justice 9th
  7. Order and Security 11th
  8. Criminal Justice 12th
Tags:

17 Responses to “NZ 6th for rule of law”

  1. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    9. Bain like cases. 1st

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. dishy (248 comments) says:

    The rule of law placing is made possible because – unlike Cunliffe – we understand that shareholders aren’t liable for the company’s debt and we don’t pass selective laws aimed at removing wrecks from reefs.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Manolo (13,780 comments) says:

    The 3rd in Absence of Corruption was after or before Lecher Len scandal? :-)
    For sure, the corruption shown by the socialist crook and Mayor of Auckland has sunk the country.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    10. Homofascist envolvement in lawmaking. 1st = [with every country] :cool:

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. ShawnLH (5,124 comments) says:

    Nice, but I don’t take these “studies” very seriously.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    12th for Criminal Justice…. Hmmm…

    I presented evidence:
    1) The Constable agreed with me that the traffic was backed up all along the road. In other words the lane was “fully occupied”
    2) A sworn statement from my neighbour that proves I turned right
    3) S2.7(b)(i) of the Land Transport (Road User) Rules which provides for a vehicle (my motorcycle) to use a flush median for the purposes of turning right with no prescription over the distance or time that I am on the flush median before turning right.
    4) Factsheet 52 from the NZTA which says I may use a flush median for the purposes of turning right when the adjacent lane is fully occupied

    The judgement? I used the flush median for an “unreasonable length of time” and was convicted anyway.

    That’s not justice. That is corrupt.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. freethinker (691 comments) says:

    Interesting that this should on the same day I received this from EQC truths:-

    RAMPANT CORRUPTION STINGS TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL
    2 March 2014
    ‘Corruption destroys lives and communities’ is its motto and its publicly advertised mission is to promote transparency which lays bare the conflicts and bribes which suck the soul out of all countries to varying degrees. But Berlin-based non-profit Transparency International is better known for telling the world which countries are doing a good job at combating corruption and which ones are not through its annual ‘perception index’ which rates 177 countries from 1 to 177.
    Media organisations such as Forbes rely on Transparency International’s findings in promoting its own world perspective.
    In its own ‘perception’, Transparency International ranked New Zealand lowest (along with Finland) in corruption – and its local chapter is the non-profit’s golden child and keeper of the faith. In contrast, New Zealanders question a charter which received almost all of its funding from the New Zealand government, routinely turned away new members – individual memberships have been relatively constant at 50 – and declared its “over-arching principle” is it “will not be involved in investigating or exposing individual cases (of corruption)”.
    Finally, a dose of reality has set in, with revelations of rampant corruption within the New Zealand chapter oozing from its opaque façade. Berlin has known since early December that NZ chapter director Suzanne Snively was running a fraudulent company trading on the Transparency International name to sell her consulting services to unsuspecting foreign companies seeking trade with New Zealand. They have done nothing but cover it up. Triple dipping Ms Snively is also a contractor to the New Zealand government and her TINZ salary is funded by the government.
    This week it was revealed that another Transparency International New Zealand director Michael Vukcevic falsely claimed in his CV that he had a law degree and other qualifications in order to get an appointment in 2012 to promote New Zealand’s bid for a free trade agreement in the Middle East.
    Yet another TINZ director Claire Johnstone was a government official running a private consultancy business which promoted her ability to “access grant funding from government for many of our clients”. Her husband Ash Johnstone, a serving NZ police officer, was profiled on the company website as in charge of conducting security background checks for private clients.
    It came to light last year that at least two directors of TINZ made repeated visits to the Ministry of Justice in Cambodia seeking personal fortune on the door-opening coattails of Dame Sylvia Cartwright who was one of two international judges appointed to the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia, filling a vacuum in the war ravaged country.
    Fraud examiner and former police prosecutor Grace Haden, who was denied membership in TINZ and consequently launched her own “Transparency New Zealand” is not surprised by the corruption or cover up by Transparency International. “They don’t want to know the reality because it differs from the myth they promote.” Late yesterday, Ms Haden sent out an open letter offering Transparency International her services to verify degrees and credentials of its directors.
    Transparency International Berlin refused comment other than to suggest inquiries be directed to the New Zealand chapter’s “ethics committee”. Apparently TI corporate are too busy getting ready for a razzle dazzle. The homepage of their website implores “VOTE for us in the Honesty Oscars for Best Visual Effects for the Corruption Perceptions Index infographics that we publish.”
    Meanwhile, other directors of TINZ have privately expressed concern that if Snively goes, so may the government funding. This funding includes the chapter’s “Cornerstone Platinum Member” The New Zealand Auditor General Lyn Provost who, it was revealed last month, refused to investigate police failings in respect to money laundering at the Sky City Casino at a time she was a shareholder in Sky City. Ms Provost advised her powers of inquiry were ‘discretionary’, stating the investigation would be too costly in this case.
    All of this would be big news anywhere else, but not in New Zealand where Ms Snively’s husband is the former chief executive of the government-owned national broadcaster TVNZ.
    Sadly for New Zealand, most New Zealanders like the Transparency International myth and prefer news of celebrity sightings not be interrupted by reality.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. freethinker (691 comments) says:

    Rouppe – yes I have seen many instances of similar judgements- it appears that most JP,s and indeed many district court judges simply do not understand the Law and so side with the Police/Local Authority on the basis they would not have prosecuted a case if they were not right. There is a very interesting case proceeding locally were the local authority and ministry of justice have got something so wrong and in the process have committed perjury, theft and conversion that the result will likely reveal the cesspit of incompetence and corruption or at least attempted and should the media refuse to report will likely go viral on you tube – watch this space!!

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    freethinker:

    I decided not to appeal, mainly because of the cost involved compared to the fine, and partly because this destroyed my faith that a judge would see what (to me) is plainly obvious.

    What I have done though is write a letter of complaint to the Minister of Courts, referring to the base details as above, also disclosed that everyone seemed very chummy (first name basis with the police prosecutor, police prosecutor takes the court staff for coffee during the break, police prosecutor opened up the court with his own keys) and asked whether a performance review of whether using JP’s actually results in better justice should be undertaken.

    Of course Chestor Burrows is an ex-copy so I’m not hoping for much, tough I did get a letter saying he had referred the complaint to the Ministry. We’ll see.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. questions (207 comments) says:

    dishy (197 comments) says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 9:04 am
    The rule of law placing is made possible because – unlike Cunliffe – we understand that shareholders aren’t liable for the company’s debt and we don’t pass selective laws aimed at removing wrecks from reefs.

    Perhaps it is because John Key and Judith Collins/Wong Tung think that the Cabinet rules are just vague suggestions?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    rouppe (833 comments) says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 9:22 am

    12th for Criminal Justice…. Hmmm…

    I presented evidence:
    1) The Constable agreed with me that the traffic was backed up all along the road. In other words the lane was “fully occupied”
    2) A sworn statement from my neighbour that proves I turned right
    3) S2.7(b)(i) of the Land Transport (Road User) Rules which provides for a vehicle (my motorcycle) to use a flush median for the purposes of turning right with no prescription over the distance or time that I am on the flush median before turning right.
    4) Factsheet 52 from the NZTA which says I may use a flush median for the purposes of turning right when the adjacent lane is fully occupied

    The judgement? I used the flush median for an “unreasonable length of time” and was convicted anyway.

    That’s not justice. That is corrupt.

    You just know we live in a great country when the supposed injustice people complain about are fines for passing on a flush median. Such injustices rate up there alongside having to mow that patch of grass out the front of the house.

    With respect, and noting that I’ve done it myself, I think you are wrong. Land Transport Rules are government policy. They are not legislation and so immediately you should recognize that their interpretation is not as strict as which might apply to statute.

    Such rules, or policies, “…must be construed sensibly according to the purpose of the policy and the natural meaning of the language in the context in which it is employed, that is, as part of a comprehensive and coherent scheme…” – Patel v Chief Executive of the Department of Labour [1997] NZAR 264, 271.

    “…One should certainly approach the question of… interpretation on the premise that the [Minister] will not have intended absurdity…” – Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Alcan New Zealand Limited [1994] 3 NZLR 439, 444.

    My reading of the rule that you quote does not necesarrily permit unrestricted travel down a flush median simply because you intend to turn right at some point in the future. The rule is clearly designed to prevent passing on a flush median while allowing the use of flush medians to turn right. To say that one can travel down a flush median for any length of time (simply because the rule omits to specify a particular limit) leads to an absurdity as it nullifies the primary purpose of the rule which is to prevent passing on the flush median. Anyone pulled up could simply say they were going to turn right at some point, and even if you were going to turn right, and did in fact turn right, it doesn’t detract from the fact that you were also using it to pass. It seems clear from your description that in fact one of the purposes of using the flush median was to pass a long line of traffic. The flush median isn’t designed for this purpose and using it in that manner can present a hazard.

    Although the Factsheet does indicate that you can pass traffic blocking it does specify that as an exception and “only for short distances just before the turn”. Maybe if I was there I would agree with your assessment, but how am I ever to know? The court disagreed with you and even you mention that the traffic was backed up “all along the road” which suggests to me that it wasn’t “just before the turn”.

    Government policies are guidelines and there will always be instances where reasonable judgment has to be applied. Based on your account I don’t believe you have shown the police were unreasonable.

    Lastly, you have written a letter to the Minister regarding your perception that “everyone seemed very chummy”. Not to put too fine a point on it, but do you really think anyone actually cares about your fine for driving on a flush median? Do you really believe there is some sort of orchestrated effort to conspire to ignore the law just so you can be fined for something as trivial as this? Do you suppose the Prime Minister was alerted as well?

    Do you suppose that perhaps people who work with each other every day do get to know each others first names? Would you be surprised to know that defence lawyers may also have coffee with police prosecutors? Are you aware that all lawyers whether prosecutors or defence lawyers are in fact officers of the court? Do you suppose that cordial professional relations would not be forever damaged if the court ruled in your favour?

    Now go mow your berm. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    You just know we live in a great country when the supposed injustice people complain about are fines for passing on a flush median.

    True that. When I drove an automatic I used to delight in keeping out the people who would see there’s a queue thing happening, and try to find a creative way of pushing in at the front of it. I saw it as my civic duty.

    And it’s just so easy to do in a six cylinder auto… now I slow down, now I speed up. Hey look, there’s no gap for you here either! :evil:

    How many hundred metres of the flush median did you blat down on your bike before you got to your “right turn” Rouppe? ;-)

    And how many years have you been doing that for, before you got caught this one time? You’re probably still winning overall, let it go!

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    Weihana

    The phrase “only for short distances just before the turn” is only part of the complete sentence in the Factsheet. The full text is

    Don’t use flush medians as overtaking lanes (except for short distances just before the turn or when preparing to turn right and other traffic is occupying the adjacent lane)

    So there is a key “or” condition there. Seeing as I have been writing or-statements in code for 30 years I can tell you basic logic learned in school says that if either of the “or” branches is true, then the condition is met, and the other condition is irrelevant. Quite clearly, the statement allows use for other than a “short distance” when the other lane is fully occupied. Which it was. Oh, and by the way, define “short distance”. I have documentation that has a Superintendant calling 1500m a “short distance”.

    In addition I now have an email trail from NZTA where I questioned what their interpretation meant, which led to them saying that it was only a “plain English interpretation of the legistaltion” and that legislation was S2.7 of the Rules, which is what I was charged with and which specifically says if I intend to turn right, I can use a flush median.

    What is the point of having law, if it can be simply discarded at the whim of Police and the judiciary as they see fit?

    Several other points:

    My reading of the rule that you quote does not necesarrily (sic) permit unrestricted travel down a flush median simply because you intend to turn right at some point in the future.

    You sound like a lawyer putting lies in other people’s mouths because I never said that, did I? The conditions were: the lane was fully occupied; there was a continuous flush median, the purpose of which is to provide a safe place to facilitate right hand turns; the Rules allow it.
    As an aside, to refer to RRM, it was about 150m, at 20kph and I’ve only done that once, since every other time I’ve needed to go up that road the main road hasn’t been fully blocked.

    It seems clear from your description that in fact one of the purposes of using the flush median was to pass a long line of traffic.

    Have a read of Section 2.6. Passing a vehicle requires me to move into the line of passage of that vehicle again. I turned right. Therefore I didn’t return to the line of passage. So that test fails too. Like the Police, you have conflated “passing” and “driving past”. When you travel down the road, are you “passing” all the cars parked on the road, or simply “driving past”? When determining that does it matter if there is someone sitting in that parked (stopped) car? No. Driving past other vehicles when intending to turn right is different to passing or overtaking them.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but do you really think anyone actually cares about your fine for driving on a flush median? Do you really believe there is some sort of orchestrated effort to conspire to ignore the law just so you can be fined for something as trivial as this? Do you suppose the Prime Minister was alerted as well?

    Don’t be such a facetious git. I don’t care whether anyone else cares, certainly not you. What I believe is that bringing instances of bad judgment to the attention of those that matter is important. Note freethinker saying he has seen this happen several times before and I’ve heard similar things from IT mates who have worked at MoJ. What I think is that Police are arrogant and exhibit bullying behaviour. They have people on staff who get paid to prosecute court cases and it costs them nothing to do so, including the time the complainant takes giving his evidence. On the other hand it costs the defendant time and money to challenge such “trivial” matters, and Police rely on that being “too hard” for the average citizen in order to secure convictions that are of dubious merit. That is principally why I went through with it, with the expectation that when in front of a learned judge (I didn’t know at the time that JP’s who might have a 2 week course to prepare them for this would be presiding) the letter of the law would apply. I’ve been a juror on four trials in the last 15 years and at every summing up we are told to make a decision on the evidence presented and the letter of the law. The test the JP applied was nowhere in the legislation. He made it up.

    Would you be surprised to know that defence lawyers may also have coffee with police prosecutors? Are you aware that all lawyers whether prosecutors or defence lawyers are in fact officers of the court?

    Pay attention. They don’t make the judgement, do they? While the registrar also doesn’t make the decision, they are in a position to influence over time the perception of those presiding of the prosecutor. “Oh, he’s a really nice bloke” etc etc so that there is a skew in perception that the defendant doesn’t enjoy. Both prosecution and defence should – must – be equally perceived and the decision made solely on the evidence, not biased by familiar relationships, favours done… What next?

    Do you suppose that cordial professional relations would not be forever damaged if the court ruled in your favour?

    Again you drag the intent away from the statement. I’m saying the overly familiar relationship between one of the protagonists and the courts system risks the perception that it is biased. And perception is reality.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    There is a very interesting case proceeding locally were the local authority and ministry of justice have got something so wrong and in the process have committed perjury, theft and conversion that the result will likely reveal the cesspit of incompetence and corruption or at least attempted and should the media refuse to report will likely go viral on you tube – watch this space!!

    In my experience local media will not always report misconduct – I put a reporter in touch with with a second witness to overt judicial fraud and they chose not to run the story.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    rouppe (834 comments) says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    So there is a key “or” condition there. Seeing as I have been writing or-statements in code for 30 years I can tell you basic logic learned in school says that if either of the “or” branches is true, then the condition is met, and the other condition is irrelevant.

    Just as an aside the fact you write code may explain your frustration. The syntax required in programming is generally very precise and not ambiguous. But that is not necessarily how the law works. It is written in plain language (something of a difficulty for machines to understand) and the meaning is not always clear.

    Personally my reading of the fact sheet says that passing is generally not allowed but with an exception. That exception is that it is for “short distances” and this applies both to “just before the turn” or “when preparing to turn right and other traffic is occupying the adjacent lane”.

    But again, to fixate on trying to apply some very strict interpretation to the language misses the point as the policy is open to interpretation and the meaning that will be preferred will always be the meaning that is reasonable within the framework of what these rules are trying to accomplish. It simply cannot be held reasonable that travelling a long distance down the flush median (even if it is continuous) because the lane is blocked accords with the intent of the rule and so some test of reasonableness will be applied to people’s use of it.

    Oh, and by the way, define “short distance”. I have documentation that has a Superintendant calling 1500m a “short distance”.

    Define careless driving. Define disorderly behaviour. Surely some things will always be subject to standards of reasonableness.

    What is the point of having law, if it can be simply discarded at the whim of Police and the judiciary as they see fit?

    But it isn’t discarded. The officer exercised their discretion to determine that you used the flush median for an unreasonable distance in order to pass a long line of vehicles. The court appears to have affirmed that decision.

    You sound like a lawyer putting lies in other people’s mouths because I never said that, did I? The conditions were: the lane was fully occupied; there was a continuous flush median, the purpose of which is to provide a safe place to facilitate right hand turns; the Rules allow it.
    As an aside, to refer to RRM, it was about 150m, at 20kph and I’ve only done that once, since every other time I’ve needed to go up that road the main road hasn’t been fully blocked.

    I agree the purpose is to facilitate right hand turns, but I don’t think it is to facilitate passing a long line of traffic to avoid a wait. I’m not a lawyer :) … and my point is simply to say that excessive travelling down the flush median is not the intent of the rules.

    Have a read of Section 2.6. Passing a vehicle requires me to move into the line of passage of that vehicle again.

    I don’t see that defined in the rule. You seem to have inferred that for the purposes of your argument but the plain meaning would seem to suffice.

    When you travel down the road, are you “passing” all the cars parked on the road, or simply “driving past”? When determining that does it matter if there is someone sitting in that parked (stopped) car? No. Driving past other vehicles when intending to turn right is different to passing or overtaking them.

    Yes, when you drive by parked cars you are “passing” them. To consider parked cars as “moving” in your direction is somewhat specious but then I suppose you would say that the bumper to bumper traffic is not “moving”. In that case the parked car scenario would be nullified by subclause 2 which stipulates that subclause 1(c) and 1(d) do not apply when the car is on the same side of the centre line. So the obligation is to pass parked cars “safely” and with “due consideration”.

    Should “safely” and “due consideration” now be defined?

    Don’t be such a facetious git. I don’t care whether anyone else cares, certainly not you.

    Of course not but your comments imply that the court cares a great deal and that people are conspiring to ignore the law just to get you.

    What I believe is that bringing instances of bad judgment to the attention of those that matter is important. Note freethinker saying he has seen this happen several times before and I’ve heard similar things from IT mates who have worked at MoJ. What I think is that Police are arrogant and exhibit bullying behaviour.

    … alternative scenario: they genuinely believe in their interpretation of the rules and officers are instructed on this interpretation and enforce the rule accordingly. Their interpretation has now been tested in court and they have won. Maybe you are simply wrong with regards to how the law works?

    Pay attention. They don’t make the judgement, do they? While the registrar also doesn’t make the decision, they are in a position to influence over time the perception of those presiding of the prosecutor. “Oh, he’s a really nice bloke” etc etc so that there is a skew in perception that the defendant doesn’t enjoy. Both prosecution and defence should – must – be equally perceived and the decision made solely on the evidence, not biased by familiar relationships, favours done… What next?

    Favours done? Having coffee?

    You should know that all parties are required to avoid conflict of interests. The defence is tasked to zealously represent your interests. That is why I mentioned them. By your logic having a coffee with a prosecutor means that they might not represent you to their full ability because they are swayed by the power of coffee. It’s all just a tad ridiculous sounding.

    Again you drag the intent away from the statement. I’m saying the overly familiar relationship between one of the protagonists and the courts system risks the perception that it is biased. And perception is reality.

    Perceived bias is important to avoid. But that perception should be reasonable.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Just as an aside the fact you write code may explain your frustration. The syntax required in programming is generally very precise and not ambiguous.

    The text from the fact sheet is not ambiguous.

    Here it is again:

    Don’t use flush medians as overtaking lanes (except for short distances just before the turn or when preparing to turn right and other traffic is occupying the adjacent lane)

    But that is not necessarily how the law works.

    You don’t know what you are talking about, Weihana.

    “Reason is the life of the law” ~ Coke.

    District court judicial process is not always lawful.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    UglyTruth (2,208 comments) says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    District court judicial process is not always lawful.

    In the absence of appeal my opinion would appear to be the authoritative opinion. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote