The justice minister’s United Nations speech in which National says he “apologised for being a Kiwi” has also been compared to David Cunliffe’s apology for being a man.
Little lead a delegation to New Zealand’s third Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where he said: “It is fair to say the justice system is broken”.
I can’t believe we have a Justice Minister who tells the rest of the world that NZ has a broken justice system. Ministers are now bad mouthing NZ internationally.
National’s Justice spokesman Mark Mitchell likened Little’s speech to ex-Labour leader Cunliffe’s 2014 apology for being a man, where he pledged to invest $60 million to tackle domestic violence.“Now you have got Little apologising for being a Kiwi,” Mitchell said. He said the minister had “talked-down” the nation.
If Little thinks the justice system is broken, then as the Minister for the last 18 months he should resign.
During his speech, Little explained the Government’s wellbeing approach and achievements such as paid parental leave, the Child Poverty Reduction Act, healthy homes and the child, youth and wellbeing strategy but acknowledged New Zealand must still improve when it came to its broken justice system.
New Zealand had one of the highest incarceration rates per capita in the world and it has risen in recent years, he said.
He said the damaging effects of colonisation were still being felt today with Māori facing “considerable disadvantages and having a disproportionate number of Māori in state care and prison.
There was no escaping the fact New Zealand had very high levels of family violence and the system was failing NZ women, girls and families, he said.
So Little calls the justice system broken because of high incarceration rates and high levels of family violence.
Using such cherry picked statistics, I reckon every country in the world could find their justice system broken.
The measure of success of a justice system isn’t the number of people in prison, but the number of victims of crime and the severity of the crimes.
Little seems to think the goal of a justice system is to have as few people in prison as possible, rather than having as few victims of crime as possible.
Our justice system is of course far from perfect. I support for example the proposed commission for miscarriages of justice. But I’d say our system measures up very well to most OECD countries. For example:
- A non-corrupt Police force
- Declining crime rate for the last couple of decades
- A huge reduction in youth crime
- A large fall in victims of crime since 2008
- A fall in recidivism
Again far from perfect. But there is a massive difference between imperfect and broken.