It looks like the holidays are well and truly over and our hard-working (and big-spending) ministers are back at work.
Some are boasting of policy triumphs.
- Justice Minister Kris Faafoi was keen to tell us the latest Youth Justice Indicators Summary report shows a continuing substantial drop in the rate of youth offending.
- Finance Minister Grant Robertson wanted is to know the OECD (in its 2022 Economic Survey for New Zealand) agrees our economy has proved strong and resilient while noting the country has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.
Police Minister Poto Williams wants to assure us she is keeping us safe, reminding us that the government is committed to reducing firearms violence with further changes to our gun laws which take effect from today.
The Arms Amendment Regulations 2021 come into force and are among many changes called for by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the March 2019 terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain, in which 51 people lost their lives and 40 were injured.
“Gangs and other violent criminals cannot continue to threaten, intimidate, and exploit our communities and these additional regulations provide the Police further tools to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, and to keep our communities safe,” said Minister Williams.
“Owning a firearm in New Zealand is a privilege, not a right and these changes are another step towards combatting firearms violence and making our communities safer.” Continue reading “It looks like a trough and $438m (or so) has been dished out on completed projects – but the name keeps it nicely camouflaged”
Monitoring the Ministers
We suspect women don’t aspire to gain equality with men in all measures of gender disparities.
Prison musters provide an obvious example.
In September this year males accounted for 94.3% of the prison population.
This clearly means women were far behind with just 5.7% – and that percentage was lower than the 7% recorded in September 2018.
Elsewhere in our criminal justice system, changes to help women are being effected through the passage of the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill, which will:
- entitle sexual violence complainants to use alternative ways of giving evidence, including by pre-recording their cross-examination evidence in appropriate cases;
- ensure evidence about a complainant’s past sex life is off limits, unless it is clearly highly relevant; and
- require judges to talk to the jury to dispel any misconceptions relating to sexual violence (often called ‘rape myths’) that might be brought into a case.
Mind you, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi dispelled any impression there is a gender bias in the legislation. It includes changes to benefit all witnesses, not just those in sexual cases, he said. Continue reading “Sepuloni tackles a matter of gender imbalance – but do women really want a bigger share of payments from the ACC?”
Marama Davidson – we note – is not one of three Ministers who will take care of Kiri Allan’s portfolios while the well regarded Labour politician takes leave of absence to be treated for cancer.
Pity. Being given one of the three acting positions might have enabled Davidson to issue more press statements, lifting the number from the grand total of four in her name on the Beehive website.
Kiri Allan, the Minister of Conservation and Emergency Management and Associate Minister for Arts and Culture, has issued four statements since March 21. Her tally since she became a minister after the 2020 general election is 30.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today Allan is taking a leave of absence while she undergoes medical treatment for cervical cancer.
The only other statement on the Beehive website this morning was from Police Minister Poto William, who announced the members of the Ministers Arms Advisory Group, established to ensure balanced advice to Government on firearms that is independent of Police. Continue reading “Three Ministers to pick up extra duties while Kiri Allan is treated for cancer”
It’s great to hear Phil Twyford celebrating a success. Not a personal ministerial success, it’s fair to say, but a success nevertheless related to arms control.
The arms on which Twyford is focused, it should be noted, will make quite a mess if they are triggered. They tend to be nuclear ones.
Police Minister Poto Williams is similarly focused on arms control.
The arms in this case are not in the same big-bang league as those embraced by Twyford’s portfolio, but their potential to kill is plain enough and inevitably they became a political issue in the aftermath of the mosque massacre in Christchurch last year.
Williams yesterday announced the next steps in the Government’s firearms reform programme, a three-month amnesty aims to remove further firearms and arms items that were prohibited and restricted through the Arms Legislation Act 2020.
The Government has allocated $15.5 million for compensation and administrative costs.
Among other new announcements – Continue reading “Twyford has something to celebrate, but the hard yards were put in on disarmament long before he was given the portfolio”