INDEPENDENT NEWS

Many Successes for Justice in 2001-2002 Year

Published: Tue 15 Oct 2002 03:34 PM
Many Successes for Justice in 2001-2002 Year
Secretary for Justice, Belinda Clark, says she is delighted with the achievements made by the Ministry of Justice in the year ended 30 June 2002. The Minister of Justice, Hon Phil Goff, tabled the Ministry’s report in Parliament today.
Ms Clark says the achievements in the work programme contribute to the Ministry’s vision of ‘building a fairer and safer New Zealand’.
“New Zealanders will benefit from the work that was done in the last financial year, and will continue to benefit over coming years from the justice sector policy work being undertaken by the Ministry, as well as from the efforts of the more ‘hands-on’ operational units of the Crime Prevention Unit, Youth Offending Teams, Office of Treaty Settlements and Chief Electoral Office.
“Among the highlights of the year were the Sentencing and Parole Acts coming into force on 30 June 2002. The legislation was the culmination of intensive policy development over two years in response to the 1999 referendum on crime and punishment and represents a comprehensive overhaul and rationalisation of the Criminal Justice Act 1985. The Ministry also advised ministers on the appointment of the National Parole Board established under the Parole Act 2002.
“The Ministry worked with the Ministry of Social Development to launch a Family Violence Strategy and Youth Offending Strategy as part of the Crime Reduction Strategy.
“Advice and support were provided to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee on the Criminal Investigations (Blood Samples) Amendment Act 1995. Advice was also provided to the government on the Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Bill. Both pieces of legislation aim to reduce burglary.
“The Ministry provided legal advice on five applications for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy and has a further sixteen under action. Legal advice was also given on five claims for compensation for wrongful conviction and/or imprisonment.
“The Human Rights Amendment Act took effect from 1 January 2002. Key implications included restructuring the Human Rights Commission (and associated appointment advice) and provisions for government agencies to be subject to the Act in respect of discriminatory policies and practices. The Ministry also continued to provide a vetting service ensuring government policy complies with the Bill of Rights Act 1990.
“Another important achievement were changes to the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, that came into force on 1 February 2002. The legislation is a significant and large-scale reform, affecting everyone living in a relationship - whether they are married or living in a de facto (including same-sex) relationship.
“A new edition of the Legislation Advisory Committee guidelines was produced. The Ministry also provided the secretariat to the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Future of Appeals to the Privy Council, whose report identified the likely features of a new Supreme Court.
“Cabinet made a number of decisions to enhance the policy process for the implementation of Law Commission reports, including a new requirement that the Government formally respond to Law Commission reports within six months of being tabled in the House. The Ministry made good progress providing policy and legislative advice in relation to a number of reports within the Justice portfolio.
“The Office of Treaty Settlements achieved a number of milestones during the year. The most significant were a Deed of Settlement with Ngäti Tama, an Agreement in Principle between the Crown and Ngä Rauru, the introduction of Te Uri o Hau and Ngäti Ruanui Claims Settlement legislation, and a Deed of Settlement completed for initialling between the Crown and Ngäti Awa.
“The Chief Electoral Office provided advice on the Electoral Amendment Bill and new Electoral Regulations. An early date for the 2002 General Election was announced on 11 June 2002 and the Office accelerated planning accordingly.
“The Ministry also developed its first Statement of Intent (SOI). It provides substance to our vision of building a fairer and safer New Zealand through working towards two outcomes – reduced crime and respect for rights and the rule of law.”

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