NZ – THE FIGHT FOR GENUINE TRANSPARENCY – AGAINST CORRUPT PRACTICES IN NZ!

Up on Ration Shed – Egroup and BLOG – with thanks to Penny Bright

 

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Onward – Jim

“““““““““

23 September 2009

 

To fellow attendees at the Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference, here is an update on the fight for genuine transparency – against corrupt practices in New Zealand.

 

1) OPEN LETTER TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL CHRIS FINLAYSON

– PLEASE LIFT J. WINKLEMANN’S SUPRESSION ORDER ON THE ‘TERRORIST SEARCH WARRANTS’ DECISION

 

2) Submissions to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee
On the proposed Search and Surveillance Bill 2009

 

FYI.

 

I promise not to swamp you with information – but given New Zealand’s status as supposedly the least corrupt country in the world (along with Sweden and Denmark) according to Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perception Index) – I thought you might be interested in this ‘reality’ check.

 

Feedback welcome!

 

In defence of ‘open, transparent and accountable’ government, public service and judiciary. 

 

Kind regards,

 

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson

Water Pressure Group,

Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.

 

_______________________________________________________________

 

OPEN LETTER TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL CHRIS FINLAYSON – PLEASE LIFT J. WINKLEMANN’S SUPRESSION ORDER ON ‘TERRORIST SEARCH WARRANTS’ DECISION
To: c.finlayson@ministers.govt.nz
Cc: s.power@ministers.govt.nz, j.collins@ministers.govt.nz, j.key@ministers.govt.nz, r.hide@ministers.govt.nz, j.carter@ministers.govt.nz, Rodney Hide <rodney@epsom.org.nz>, phil@goff.org.nz, phil.twyford@parliament.govt.nz, keith.locke@parliament.govt.nz, Sue Bradford <sue.bradford@parliament.govt.nz>, Hone Harawira <hone.harawira@parliament.govt.nz>, Pita Sharples <Pita.Sharples@parliament.govt.nz>, t.turia@ministers.govt.nz, janderson@nbr.co.nz

23 September 2009

 

 OPEN LETTER TO THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL CHRIS FINLAYSON:

23 September 2009

Dear Attorney-General,

I understand that the Solicitor-General, David Collins QC is threatening to commence contempt proceedings against Vince Siemer  if he does not remove an article on his websites www.kiwisfirst.co.nz and www.kiwisfirst.com  entitled ‘High Court throws out search warrant in “terrorist raids,”  relating to a judgement by Justice Winklemann, which she ordered to be suppressed from general publication.

 

I understand that in your role as  Attorney-General, you are effectively the ‘highest law officer in the land’, the ‘Senior Law Officer of the Crown’ ; the Solicitor-General being the ‘Junior Law Officer’.

In speech notes to the Canterbury Law Faculty, delivered by the former Attorney-General

Hon Michael Cullen on 21/7/2006, the ‘Role and functions of the Attorney-General’ were clearly stated, including the following:

“The Attorney-General role uniquely combines the obligation to act on some matters independently, free of political considerations, with the political partisanship that is associated with other Ministerial office.

My fundamental responsibility, when acting as Attorney, is to act in the public interest.

 

..the Attorney-General has a separate responsibility to represent the public interest on behalf of the general community.

………….

 In doing so, the Attorney-General may intervene in proceedings which affect the public interest.”

 

Presumably, on your watch, this ‘job description’ of the Attorney-General is unchanged.

I hereby formally request you as Attorney-General, to exercise your fundamental responsiblility and act in the public interest, by taking whatever action is necessary in order to have the above-mentioned ‘suppression order’ of the judgment of Justice Winklemann on the search warrants used in the ‘terrorist raids’,  lifted forthwith. 

How can justice be done – or be seen to be done – if the Judge’s ‘findings’ are suppressed in this historic and unprecedented NZ ‘terrorist’ case?

 

Compare the   ‘man on the moon’ headlines when these bogus ‘terror raids’ first took place, with  the now judicially enforced silence on this matter!

 

How can there be justice without transparency?

 

This case was conducted in a public court room.

 

How can it not be in the  ‘public interest’ for the public to know how the Judge arrived at her decision, and read this decision for themselves?

 

Please be advised that as a judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters, I fully support Vince Siemer in his actions in alerting and notifying the public about Justice Winklemann’s decision.

 

In my considered opinion, Vince Siemer is a fellow ‘Public Watchdog’ and is performing a particularly courageous and principled role in helping to defend our right to freedom of expression and exposing judicial corruption in New Zealand.

 

What I have learned, is that being an effective ‘Public Watchdog’ does not necessarily make you popular with those whom you are ‘watching’.

 

Please be advised that I have, and will continue to do whatever I can to publicise issue, both nationally and internationally.

 

Having recently attended the Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference held in Brisbane 28-31 July 2009, I met and got the contact details of a significant number of

anti-corruption ‘heavyweights’, as it were, to whom I am copying this letter.

 

It is my considered and honestly-held opinion that New Zealand’s status on Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perception Index’, as the least corrupt country in the world along with Sweden and Denmark, does not match reality, as this matter, I believe helps to prove.

 

I take full responsibility for my actions.

 

If, as Attorney-General, you choose NOT to act in the public interest and ensure that the suppression order on Justice Winklemann’s judgment is lifted, I will provide you with my address for service for contempt proceedings.

 

 

 

What I have already circulated follows below.

 

 

In a monumental Court decision, Judge Helen Winkelmann of the Auckland High Court last week threw out 6 of the 9 land search warrants authorised by the Court in the “Tuhoe Terrorist” raids in 2007.  The Judge ruled there was

“No reasonable grounds for issue of (the) warrants“.  Winkelmann J also ruled the Police did not have implied licence to be on the various roads and track for the purpose of covert surveillance.”  

 

In an 81-page judgment, Justice Winkelmann plodded methodically through the law and evidence to reach a conclusion which guts the Police and New Zealand Solicitor General’s original claim that a gang of dangerous terrorists threatened New Zealand’s clean-green image, and life itself.  Her ruling gingerly points the finger instead at the illegality of the Police raids and seizures which occurred with the complicity of some New Zealand Judges.
 
In a sour note to Justice Winkelmann’s historic ruling, Her Honour ordered her findings suppressed from the media, seemingly to save embarrassment to the Police, as well as fellow High Court Justice Judith Potter – who was the judge who approved many of the unlawful search warrants.  In stark contrast to this current shroud of secrecy, the Police raids and massive arrests consumed “mainstream media” coverage for weeks in New Zealand when they occurred two years ago, as well as prompted breaking news bulletins around the world.”

 

I have forwarded this post in the interests of an open, transparent and accountable NZ ‘Justice system’.

 

I hope you do too.

 

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson

Water Pressure Group

Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.

 

Ph (09) 846 9825

BREAKING NEWS!  A High Court Judge ruled that 6 of the 9 land warrants granted by the Court in the 2007 ‘terrorist’ raids were illegal.
 
http://www.kiwisfirst.co.nz/index.asp

 

HIGH COURT THROWS OUT SEARCH WARRANTS IN “TERRORIST” RAIDS

17 September 2009
In a monumental Court decision, Judge Helen Winkelmann of the Auckland High Court last week threw out 6 of the 9 land search warrants authorised by the Court in the “Tuhoe Terrorist” raids in 2007.  The Judge ruled there was “No reasonable grounds for issue of (the) warrants“.  Winkelmann J also ruled the Police did not have implied licence to be on the various roads and track for the purpose of covert surveillance.  
 
Counter-intuitively the Judge ruled the searches and seizures did not constitute unreasonable search and seizure under s 21 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.  The legal admissibility of the evidence collected in the illegal raids is to be the subject of another hearing.
 

 

In an 81-page judgment, Justice Winkelmann plodded methodically through the law and evidence to reach a conclusion which guts the Police and New Zealand Solicitor General’s original claim that a gang of dangerous terrorists threatened New Zealand’s clean-green image, and life itself.  Her ruling gingerly points the finger instead at the illegality of the Police raids and seizures which occurred with the complicity of some New Zealand Judges.
 

In a sour note to Justice Winkelmann’s historic ruling, Her Honour ordered her findings suppressed from the media, seemingly to save embarrassment to the Police, as well as fellow High Court Justice Judith Potter – who was the judge who approved many of the unlawful search warrants.  In stark contrast to this current shroud of secrecy, the Police raids and massive arrests consumed “mainstream media” coverage for weeks in New Zealand when they occurred two years ago, as well as prompted breaking news bulletins around the world.
 
What started out as a prosecution under the Terrorist Suppression Act 2002 by Solicitor General David Collins in 2007 has now been diluted into an Arms Act 1983 prosecution.  In November 2007 S-G Collins backed down from the Terrorist charges after a month of mass protests brought attention to the lack of credible evidence being publicly released and resulted in increased suspicion concerning the NZ Court’s blanket order suppressing the Police affidavits. 

……………………………………………………”

Yours sincerely,

 

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson

Water Pressure Group

Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.

 

Ph (09) 846 9825

021 211 4 127

waterpressure@gmail.com

 ___________________________________________________

18 September 2009

Submissions to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee
On the proposed Search and Surveillance Bill 2009


 I wish to be heard on this matter.


1) I am totally opposed to any legislative changes which increase the powers of the Police or any other body, thus restricting or potentially violating the human rights and privacy of citizens.


2) As a judicially recognized ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters, I have experienced first hand the abuse of municipal power and authority by being arrested 22 times in defence of the rights of citizens to ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government.


It is the misuse and abuse of the Trespass Act, that I have personally encountered, and will now be seeking a law change to ensure that at a time that meetings of local government are open to the public, that the Trespass Act cannot be used to ‘trump’ the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.


(I have run out of legal channels in NZ to pursue this matter.)


3) The proposed increased powers of surveillance under this bill are in marked contrast with the lack of legislation which enforces ‘openness, transparency and democratic accountablility’ both at local and central government level and within our judiciary.


THAT is where I believe that legislative change is URGENTLY required – to prevent misuse of public office for private gain.


a) Currently, there is no ‘Code of Conduct’ for MPs.


b) Under ‘accrual’ accounting, the public do NOT know where exactly our public monies are being spent at either local or central government.


c) At local government level, there is no requirement for details of ‘contracts issued ‘to be published in Council Annual Reports; including the name of the contractor, term, scope or value of the contract.


d) At local government level, there is no requirement for a ‘register of pecuniary interests’ of elected representatives or their spouses to be made publicly available.


e) In our Courts, it is common for proceedings NOT to be recorded.
How can justice be done, or be seen to be done – when there is no record in Court of WHAT was done?


4) NZ has no body charged with preventing corruption or corrupt practices.


It is high time, in my considered opinion, that NZ had an equivalent of the NSW Independent Comission Against Corruption.
In my experience, practices which are viewed internationally as ‘corrupt’ are quite commonplace here in NZ.


5)I believe that there needs to be an urgent inquiry into the use of surveillance by the SIS and Police against political activists.
 
Penny Bright
Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.
 
Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127
waterpressure@gmail.com

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