"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts

Until we have legislation adopted into law to ensure fiduciary accountability and transparency in public affairs we will continue to have human rights breached because the existing crown immunity and lack of any independent oversight invites corruption to flourish.


"Question authority, and think for yourself" - Timothy Leary


"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts


"Information is the currency of democracy" - Thomas Jefferson


‎"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does." - Margaret Mead

"The truth is like a lion, you don't have to defend it. Let it loose, it will defend itself."

"I = m c 2 [squared] where "I" am information" - Timothy Leary

"Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen

"The internet is a TV that watches you"

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

"This judgment explains why members of a committee, established by legislation to review decisions made by a government department, may not use fictitious names and signatures when issuing their decisions.

Benefit Review Committees (BRCs) are responsible for reviewing decisions made on behalf of the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) concerning an applicant's entitlement to benefits under the Social Security Act 1964.

[The Plaintiff] applied to have the BRCs review seven decisions of the MSD.
Decisions from the seven differently constituted BRCs were duly delivered.

It transpired, however, that in six of the seven decisions of the BRCs, the names and signatures were fictitious.

This revelation occurred when [The Plaintiff] appealed the BRCs' decisions to the Social Security Appeal Appeal Authority (SSAA).

Prior to the scheduled hearing of the appeals, Mr van Ooyen, a senior manager at the MSD, filed a memorandum with the SSAA headed "In Confidence" saying that the Ministry had decided that the true identities of the members of the BRCs should be hidden in order to protect Committee members from the risk of being harassed and threatened.

Mr van Ooyen's memorandum was not served on [The Plaintiff], who was not represented by a lawyer.

The Authority responded with a minute conveying its concerns that the Committees had issued decisions using fictitious names and signatures and that the Ministry had attempted to communicate with the SSAA "in confidence" and without involving [The Plaintiff].
Upon being notified of the SSAAs concerns, the MSD applied to the SSAA to withhold from [The Plaintiff] the true identities of the members of the six BRCs who had used fictitious names and signatures.

In a decision dated 15 September 2017, the SSAA dismissed the Ministry's application, saying that there was "an absolute prohibition" on statutory decision makers using fictitious names and signatures unless there was an express legislative basis for them to do so. 
The SSAA also said the MSD's justification for using fictitious names and signatures lacked substance when weighed against the right to open justice, and that permitting members of the BRCs to continue the practise would "seriously compromise" the SSAA.
This was the second time the SSAA had ruled that the names of BRC members must be disclosed to an applicant.

MSD appealed the decision in the High Court under section 12Q of the Social Security Act.
At paragraph 42 of the judgment of Collins J the issue of recusal arises.  Other recent cases involving the question of recusal include Taueki and Mihaka.

At paragraph 43 Collins J notes "The question that then arises is how [The Plaintiff] can make an informed decision about challenging the appointment of members of a BRC, for example, for bias, if she is prevented from knowing their true identities.  The answer is clear.  She cannot.  To conclude otherwise would produce an outcome that is the antithesis of natural justice."

Paragraph 44 upholds the principle of 'equality of arms', which means that the Plaintiff, and not just the Ministry, should have the opportunity to challenge the appointment of BRC members.
Paragraphs 45 addresses the need for legislative authority thus:  "The debate among constitutional scholars about the sources of government power has never been satisfactorily resolved.  In the present case, it is accepted that the prerpgative powers are not engaged.  Instead, there are in theory, three potential sources of authority for the Committees to use fictitious names and signatures namely, implied legislative authority, the "reasonably incidental doctrine" and a concept referred to as the "third source of government powers".  Before examining thse possibilities, I shall first set the scene by explaining the constitutional principles that underpin the need for there to be a source of power for government actions."

After correctly concluding that the Ministry had no implied statutory authority, Collins J turned to the question of "reasonably incidental doctrine", which enables public bodies to do things that are reasonably incidental to the discharge of their statutory functions such as purchasing paperclips without express statutory or common law authority, but not to use fictitious names in legal proceedings.  He correctly concluded that the doctrine was of no assistance to the Ministry and "cannot be invoked to justify infringement of a citizen's rights, particularly a right as fundamental as the right to natural justice."

Likewise, Collins J concluded that actions by the Ministry derived from the third source of government authority cannot override a citizen's right to natural justice.

Counsel for the Ministry then raised the question of whether the law could be "developed" which was firmly rejected by the judge thus:  "Only Parliament can sanction breaches of . . . the observance of the principles of natural justice by  authorising BRC members to use ficutions name and signatures when determining her applications for review.  This is especially because anonymous decision-makers are a rare and unusual feature of a system of justice in ay jurisdiction that respects the rule of law.  I would be trespassing beyond my constitutional role were I to usurp the functions of Parliament by authorising the practise followed by the Ministry in this case."

P J Radich QC (for the Ministry) then submitted that [The Plaintiff]'s right to natural justice, affirmed by s 27(1) of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, could be justifiably limited pursuant to s 5 of NZBORA through the Ministry ostensibly complying with its obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The judge responded:  "This argument could, however, never assist the Ministry's case, but rather it creates an additional hurdle that the Ministry would have to overcome" and "It is at this point that the approach taken by the Ministry hits a further insurmountable hurdle."

Paragraph 69 of the decision states:  " . . . First the use of fictitious names and signatures by Committees breached Ms L's right to the observance of the principles of natural justice.  Second, there is no legislative or common law authority for Committees to have used fictitious names and signatures when determining Ms L's applications.  Third, the common law cannot be "developed" to permit the practice followed by the Committees in this case.  Fourth, s 5 of NZBORA cannot be invoked to savage the Committees' practice of using fictitious names and signatures."







The Ministry of Justice has published a media release regarding the decision.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has the power to sack Brendon Boyle for condoning the practice, and should do so.


Peter Hughes

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Unconditional surrender:


More than three years ago, on 31 October 2014, Housing New Zealand Corporation began trying to evict Te Ringa Mangu 'Dun' Mihaka from his home, serving him with a 90 day notice under section 51(1)(d) of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, on the basis of a false allegation from another tenant, fuelled by the prejudice and bias of NZ Police.

On 2 December 2014 the Tenancy Tribunal issued an order terminating Mr Mihaka's tenancy and granting possession to Housing New Zealand Corporation from noon the following day, 3 December.  Mr Mihaka was approximately 73 years old at this time.

Nearly 3 years later, on 2 November 2017, Sir David Carruthers issued a carefully worded Minute. following the hearing of an appeal of the decision of the Tenancy Tribunal.  Our response was to challenge the 'Minute' of Judge Walker which is referred to in Judge Carruthers's Minute, inter alia (among other related matters which we are challenging in the various Courts and Tribunals established by the colonial governance structure).  During the hearing it also came to light that Housing New Zealand Corporation had issued not one but two eviction notices, which raised some interesting questions (explored in more detail at the link above).

Preceding this hearing, on 2 October 2017, Housing New Zealand Corporation wrote to Mr Mihaka with an offer of settlement, which was conditional on Mr Mihaka withdrawing all his Court action against Housing New Zealand Corporation, and promising not to take any further Court action against Housing New Zealand Corporation.  Rather ironic, as it was Housing New Zealand Corporation who initiated the litigation in the first place, and played hardball all the way down the line, until long after they realised there was more to these matters than met the eye.

On 28 November 2017 Housing New Zealand Corporation wrote another letter to Mr Mihaka, to say that he can remain in his home, regardless of the conditions proposed in the offer of settlement the previous month, as wisely indicated by Judge Carruthers.

While there is still a very long way to go to any real justice regarding these matters, as documented on this website, we have reached a significant milestone.  The manner in which we have achieved our goals thus far and gained so much ground is much more significant.  We will continue to fight for our rights, and fight for justice and fiduciary accountability, for as long as it takes.

"Justice the seed, peace the flower" - the words on Dun's chosen shirt of the day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Challenge to Court seating arrangements results in decision of public interest.



A recent decision of public interest, in the District Court at Wellington, September 2017, regarding seating arrangements in the Court.  In particular, seating arrangements regarding Police officers.  This decision has serious implications - it is clear that the colonial Courts have been conspiring with Police to a significant degree by condoning what many people know to be a widespread practice of allowing Police to sit where they like, and also to sit in Court listening to other witnesses give evidence before they take the stand and give their own evidence, another seriously prejudicial practise that is widespread.

For :

EDITORIAL NOTE: CHANGES MADE TO THIS JUDGMENT APPEAR IN
[SQUARE BRACKETS].

R v [WITHHELD - JUST IN CASE] [WITHHELD - JUST IN CASE] NZDC 20073 [WITHHELD - JUST IN CASE]
ORDER PROHIBITING PUBLICATION OF NAME(S), ADDRES(ES),
OCCUPATION(S) OR IDENTIFYING PARTICULARS OF
APPELLANT(S)/RESPONDENT(S)/ACCUSED/DEFENDANT(S) PURSUANT

TO S 200 CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 2011.

IN THE DISTRICT COURT
AT WELLINGTON

CRI-2016-091-000424
[WITHHELD - JUST IN CASE] NZDC 20073

THE QUEEN

v

[WITHHELD - JUST IN CASE]

Date of Ruling: 7 September 2017
Appearances: E Light with C Hislop for the Crown
C Stevenson for the Defendant

Judgment: 7 September 2017

RULING 2 OF JUDGE A I M TOMPKINS

[1] At the commencement of what is likely to be the final day in this trial,
Mr Stevenson, appearing for the defendant, has raised an issue concerning the
disposition of persons within the courtroom, and specifically the presence at a table to
the side of the courtroom on the opposite side from the jury, and slightly in front of
the dock, of the officer in charge.

[2] Mr Stevenson submits that in the interests of overall fairness, and the officer
in charge’s formal role in the trial now having ceased, the officer in charge should not
remain seated at the table in case the jury are left with the impression, perhaps
intangible but, nevertheless, potentially real, that the officer in charge in particular,

and the police in general, retain a role in the trial process elevated above that of any
other witness who has completed their evidence but who is entitled to remain in the
public gallery in the Court.

[3] Ms Light, appearing for the Crown, accepts that in the end, it is a matter of
overall trial fairness but submits that given the custom in the Wellington region for
this particular aspect of Court layout and seating arrangements to be observed, and
that a move of the officer in charge at this stage in the trial might trigger some
speculation in the jury as to why that occurred, submits, first, that the officer in charge
should be entitled to remain seated where he has been throughout the trial and,
secondly, that if the officer in charge is required to relocate to the public gallery, that
the jury simply be told that because the officer in charge’s formal role as a witness has
ended, he has moved to the public gallery, that being a suggestion with which
Mr Stevenson agrees.

[4] This is a matter that I have not encountered before. Indeed, it is, in my personal
experience, apparent that throughout the country, different seating arrangements and
configurations are adopted, not only for the officer in charge but also, indeed, for the
defendant, who in some courtrooms remains in the dock throughout the trial, as is the
case in Wellington, but in other courtrooms in other centres, following arraignment,
moves to a table in the body of the Court, normally immediately behind defence
counsel.

[5] Mr Stevenson advises that although this issue is a matter of discussion and
debate within the defence bar, as far as he and, I assume, Ms Light is concerned, there
is no available ruling to serve as a precedent to guide the Court as to the
appropriateness or otherwise of various available and alternative seating
configurations in the courtroom.

[6] In the end, it must come down in those circumstances to overall fairness, being
both fairness to the defendant but also, as Judges routinely tell juries, fairness to the
community, represented here by the Crown.

[7] In those circumstances, I am minded to accede to Mr Stevenson’s request,
given that in the absence of any statutory guide or, indeed, any precedent or prior
relevant ruling, and if the matter is finely balanced and one of intangible and potential
impression only then in the end, the Court should err on the side of ensuring that the
defendant receives a fair trial.
[8] In those circumstances, I will request, when the jury returns to hear closing
addresses today, that the officer in charge move to the public gallery. And I will, as
endorsed by both counsel, mention that in passing to the jury.

A I M Tompkins
District Court Judge

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Maori Agents - challenging flawed laws:

The Human Rights Review Tribunal recently cited two interesting precedents in the matter of Mihaka v Housing New Zealand Corporation.  The first one is cited in the Minute dated 13 October 2016 (copied below for ease of reference) - the Tribunal cites Mihaka v Police 1981 1 NZLR 54.



 




 What's interesting here is that the Tribunal didn't have any problem addressing Mrs Raue as Maori Agent in its Minute dated 9 June 2016, as evidenced below:

The Minute of the HRRT dated 9 June 2016 clearly states "REPRESENTATION:  Mr TRMN Mihaka in person assisted by Ms K Raue, Maori Agent" -


Mr Mihaka, as a descendant of the original inhabitants of this land, he uri o nga tangata whenua, has the sovereignty, te tino rangitiratanga, to appoint a person of his own choosing to speak for him.

Tangata whenua have always had the right to appoint a kaikorero of their own choosing, and it is ridiculous to assert that the quasi colonial 'government' acting on the questionable and ultra vires authority of a treaty claimed by the English to grant them all our mana and all our tino rangitiratanga by some sleight of hand smoke and mirrors.

Mr and Mrs Mihaka cite the Law Practitioners Act 1955, which refers to the role of Maori Agents but does not define the role.  In fact the 'Maori Agents' who claimed authority under this Act were infamous for cheating Maori out of their land - which is likely why attempts are being made to expunge all evidence from the historical record and pretend it didn't happen.

So let's have a closer look at Mihaka v Police 1981 - did the Crown attempt to trick Mr and Mrs Mihaka by the use of clever legal language?  Here are the relevant paragraphs, the problem's not that hard to spot - there's a question of law here:









Mrs Mihaka's trial was not in the High Court, it was in the District Court - she was charged with Wilful Damage.  Barristers don't normally bother with District Court work, they stick to High Court work, and they are required to be instructed by solicitors normally.






This decision cites sections 13 and 14 of the Law Practitioners Act 1955 - it completely ignores the infamous section 17 - which relates to solicitors and Maori Agents:


The role of McKenzie Friend is often misunderstood - the original McKenzie Friend is Ian Hangar QC - an Australian barrister, and a qualified barrister at the time of his involvement in the McKenzie case.  Not a layman at all.  It seems there are currently moves underway to 'reform' the role of McKenzie Friends in NZ Courts.

Why this is important is because Dun was royally ripped off by the two pettifoggers assigned by Legal Aid to conduct his appeals - neither of the two lawyers noticed he'd not been provided with Disclosure - let alone what that Disclosure contained - and let alone bring this to the attention of the appeal Court. Dun's been billed around eight thousand dollars for this incompetence, and would like to point out that he finds pettifogger Brett Crowley the more culpable of the two, Nathan Bourke slightly less so.

And then just when you think you've got it sussed you find the Hardie Boys decision.

No automatic alt text available.



Monday, April 24, 2017

At the going down of the sun and in the morning.

At marae throughout Aotearoa young men were mourned.  Some of our finest future leaders never came home from war.





Alister Te Ariki Campbell lived just up the road from us in Pukerua Bay, he wrote about war:

"The light of adventure that shone so brightly in our eyes when we set out was extinguished that day. Young men from the farms, the mines, the cities, the public schools, we died in a vast quagmire of blood and broken bodies. No one told us it would be like this."

Animals played a big part in the war.  As well as providing more practical service, they also provided emotional support and comfort.

Pte. T P Noonan, Auckland, with the mascot NZASC Bruno of the No 1 Platoon. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch :Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: PA1-q-305-0071. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22780140

Bess, one of only four horses of the 18,000 who went to WW1 who returned home after the war.

Over 18,000 New Zealand horses went to war.  Over 10,000 went to World War One alone, but just four returned home.  Bess was one of them.  The vast majority were acquired by the Ministry of Agriculture.

There's a great interview at this link about the four horses who returned, Bess, Beauty, Dolly, and the unfortunately named Nigger.  All belonged to officers, and Bess was the only horse who returned from the Middle East.  Bess led a parade of honour at the Carterton Agricultural and Pastoral Show wearing all the medals and ribbons of her much decorated partner, Colonel Guy Powles.

Add caption


Bess on the banks of the Jordan river in 1918

Moses, an Egyptian donkey, mascot of the NZ Service Company in France, 0n 20 April 1918





















The Great War 1914-1918 - For the Fallen
Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21st September 1914.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

An image of Christ on a war grave in Fricourt, 1916  Odette Carrez/Reuters


“If we really saw war, what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war. If we had to stand over the mangled corpses of schoolchildren killed in Afghanistan and listen to the wails of their parents, we would not be able to repeat clich├ęs we use to justify war. This is why war is carefully sanitised. This is why we are given war's perverse and dark thrill but are spared from seeing war's consequences. The mythic visions of war keep it heroic and entertaining…

The wounded, the crippled, and the dead are, in this great charade, swiftly carted offstage. They are war's refuse. We do not see them. We do not hear them. They are doomed, like wandering spirits, to float around the edges of our consciousness, ignored, even reviled. The message they tell is too painful for us to hear. We prefer to celebrate ourselves and our nation by imbibing the myths of glory, honour, patriotism, and heroism, words that in combat become empty and meaningless.”

― Chris Hedges, Death of the Liberal Class



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hekia Parata's legacy of shame- South End school update:

Continuing the saga of the dysfunction at the South End school in Carterton and the Ministry of Education.  Following the receipt of the slanderous and defamatory letter from the Board of Trustees complaints were made to the Board of Trustees, the Ministry of Education, the Minister, the Privacy Commissioner, the Ombudsmen, etc.

I have documented the manner in which the matter has been dealt with to evidence the dysfunction, which continues,almost eight years later.

It all started when I received this letter from the Board:

I have never been charged with an offence involving a child in my life, I had informed the Deputy Principal, referred to as "Dallas" in the emails below, of that fact several weeks prior to receivig the letter, and informed the school of that immediately on receipt of the letter.

The Board insisted that the NZ Police had informed them that I had been charged by Police with an offence involving a child, which is blatantly untrue, it is a complete lie.

I requested all information from the school and the Ministry, who both tried to evade the legislation and refused to provide the information.  Below is the letter from the Ministry showing their attempts to limit the information released.
On 7 August 2012 I sent this email to the school:

I am writing to again to request a meeting with the Board of Trustees and the IPCA regarding the orchestrated litany of lies being spread throughout the community, Courts, Privacy Commissioner's office, and far and wide, regarding me, by local police and their  mates - better work stories indeed!  I refer to a letter from the Board of Trustees of the South End School sacking me from my job at the school 
  1. This all began when Deputy Principal of the South End School Dallas Powell came and told me about the conversation she'd had with the Staff representative on the Board of Trustees regarding the notes of a Board meeting in early 2009 at which Rod O'Leary and Gavin Kennedy and others, including the police, had lied to the Board in telling them that I had been charged with "an offence involving a child".
  2. Dallas told me that a decision had been made at that meeting to send me the letter which I later received, sacking me over the false allegation.  Blatantly, dishonestly, corruptly.
  3. I told Dallas Powell that the allegation was untrue, and requested an immediate meeting with the Board.
  4. There was no response to that request for a meeting.  
  5. My protest that the allegation was untrue was completely ignored.
  6. I then received the letter containing the slanderous, libelous, allegation, in writing!
  7. I again requested a meeting with the Board, the request has been totally ignored completely, arrogantly, corruptly.
  8. i went to the school and told o'Leary I had never been charged with any such offence, and asked for an apology and reinstatement.
  9. O'Leary and Kennedy responded by issuing me with a trespass notice.
  10. I requested police recover all our property from the school, garden tools, plants and other equipment, etc, as the continued retention of it, and issuing of the trespass notice, was effectively theft.
  11. O'Leary and Kennedy lied to the Privacy Commissioner's office, regarding several issues, firstly claiming that no infomation existed about the source of the infomation because I told them I had recently been charged with such an offence and this was the first they had heard of it, when I told them - an obvious and blatant lie of enormous magnitude!
  12. O'Leary and Kennedy lied to the Privacy Commissioner's office, regarding several complaints from parents regarding the manner in which I have been treated by the Board, and certain staff members.
  13. I REQUEST AN URGENT MEETING BE CALLED IMMEDIATELY TO DISCUSS THIS IN LIGHT OF THE SLANDEROUS LIES AND FALSE ALLEGATIONS ABOUT ME CONTAINED IN THE LETTER TO THE ARMSTRONG FAMILY DATED 30 APRIL 2010, AND THE LIES TOLD TO A NUMBER OF OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THESE MATTERS, BY STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS, FOR OVER A YEAR.
  14. WE WANT ALL OUR PROPERTY AND PLANTS RETURNED TO US IMMEDIATELY.

__________________________________-

School secretary Elaine Scully and statutory manager Ken Wilson then sent the following emails - Scully is a liar - I DID have a job at the school, as evidenced by the letter from the Board, and correspondence from the Minister of Education Louise Upston, and as can be seen from my email, I did not call her ANY names under the sun - her allegations of abuse are LIES.  Like her allegations to police that I stole correspondence between the school and another sacked staff member from the letterbox of a Board member - Scully gave it to the wrong child to take home to mummy!  Elaine Scully is the main problem at the South End school, she is a liability, she should have been sacked long ago!

The Privacy Commissioner's tax payer funded 'investigator' Dawn Swan proved to be nothing but an overpaid liar, she insisted that I must have told the Board that I had recently been charged by Police with an offence involving a child, which defies belief.

I complained to the Ombudsmen.  They backed the Privacy Commissioner initially.

Local politician Kelvyn Alp then wrote to the Ombudsmen demanding that they reopen their so called investigation as it was clearly flawed.

The Ombudsmen capitulated and reopened the investigation, this time deciding that the Board had acquired the defamatory gossip on which they based their letter to me "via a local kindergarten" and other ridiculous statements which will never stand up in a Court of law in any way shape or form

So the latest procrastination from the Ministry of Education, in line with their evidence policy of delay, deny, defer, is the following letter received from the Ministry dated 22 February 2017.  This says that the Minister of Education Hekia Parata has asked Katrina Casey to reply to my concerns.  These include concerns about the Ministry I might add, as the Minister is well aware.

This letter says that the Ministry has conferred with the Board of Trustees, and they have confirmed that they would consider my latest correspondence under its formal complaints procedure at its meeting on 15 February and then communicate back to me.  It's now nearing the end of April, two months later and there has been no communication, as usual.



What makes the Ministry's response even more ridiculous is the fact that it is evident from a notice published in the Gazette that a Statutory Manager was appointed on 26 January 2017.  It can be seen from the notice that the Board would be acting ultra vires in considering my concerns, they should be dealt with by the Statutory Manager.

This is the second time in recent years that a Statutory Manager has been appointed to run the school, the first being Ken Wilson, author of the email above - another overpaid civil servant who should be charged with perverting the course of justice and failing in his fiduciary duties.

It is also clearly evident that representatives of the South End school have lied through their teeth from 2009 to the present day, including the information they provided to the Ombudsmen and Privacy Commissioner.  The significant failings of the offices of the Ombudsmen and Privacy Commissioner are evident in the fact that the Ombudsmen were forced to reopen the investigation and the evidence which directly contradicts statements made in the reports.



This is the second time the Board have done this, they sacked another staff member while the previous Statutory Manager was supposed to be in control.

We are still trying to obtain legal assistance to apply for judicial review and will proceed to lodge an application without legal assistance if necessary.  An example of why we can't get legal assistance is illustrated below:
"In respect of complaining about the IPCA, there is no process I know of short of the High Court in litigation.
However a new Authority is about to be appointed Sir David Carruthers previously Parole Board Chairperson, and before that Chief District Court Judge.  (sic)
You could complain to him that his staff have not done their job, as a new broom he might be interested. 
Other matters
Given . . .  changes in Legal Aid funding I should advise you I am not going to be able to take your case on legal aid. 
I have been doing criminal legal aid files for some time, but with the introduction of fixed fees and the associated administrative burden now required for legal aid, in order to make a living I am forced to reduce the amount of legal aid cases I can do.
Partly as  result of this tightening in the year ended March 2011 , i.e. 12 months ago and that I had my worst year ever earning less than the average wage, $50,000, as a result I have been forced me to reconsider the number of cases on legal aid I can take. 
In the civil area, where your case falls, the paperwork required from the Legal Services Agency is onerous.
It is does not surprise me that of 4000 lawyers willing to take legal aid prior to 31 December 2011 now only about 2000 will.
I regret given the time delay and still not having all your files,  and the new legal aid regime that trying to take on your case requires more time than I have. 
Regrettably the payment offered form civil legal aid (which you of course are likely to be required to repay) does not provide a fair reward for work done.
Whilst I do not like to reduce the decision to a financial one, I regret having to be more selective in taking legal aid cases, and have turned down 10 in the last month, your potential case is not even ready to be considered and in addition to financial considerations I regret I don't have the time.
I will return your files.
Tony Ellis."

I wrote to several members of parliament about this matter, hardly any bothered to even reply, Andrew Little's pathetic response is below:

 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Abuse of process by the Ministry of Social Development:

A recent Minute issued by the Social Security Appeals Authority is scathing in its criticism of the Ministry of Social Development.  In fact, it is so scathing that it is hard to imagine a more damning indictment of a government department.

In addition to the recent reported criticisms regarding the numerous breaches of privacy of their clients, a recent Minute from the Social Security Appeals Authority shows that the Ministry has recently been severely criticised by the SSAA regarding its habit of using fake names for its Benefit Review Committee members since at least 2015.

The Minute from the Authority further castigates the Ministry for a "memo" which the Ministry sent "In confidence" to the Authority regarding current proceedings.  Such memorandum are required to be sent to all the parties, in the interests of open justice.  The Authority has demanded that a copy of the memo be provided to the plaintiff and a copy of the Minute be served on the Chief Executive personally.

Likewise, the principles of open and natural justice require judges to be real people and use real names, and the idea of secret court processes and secret judges is entirely repugnant, and demonstrates a damning lack of integrity, and most concerning arrogance by the Ministry in this blatant abuse of process.

The Social Security Appeals authority has described it as an abuse of process in their Minute, and ordered the Ministry to provide the 'memo' which was sent "in confidence" to the Authority to be provided to the plaintiff, and be brought to the attention of the Chief Executive.

The actions of the Ministry are outrageous, as the Minute from the Authority confirms, and that the arrogance which is evident in Mr Van Ooyens actions is most concerning in light of the fact that the Ministry was warned against the practise over two years ago.

Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights forbids the use of secret courts and faceless judges.

"In confidence" seems to stand for the fact that the Ministry is confident it can get away with this sort of blatant abuse of process on a regular basis, particularly as they were warned against it over two years ago, simply ignored the warning and continued in confidence that the warning didn't apply to them for some reason" says Mrs Raue.  "It would appear that all clients who have unwittingly been judged by Benefit Review Committee members using fake names are entitled to a rehearing and the NZ Beneficiaries and Unemployed Workers Union and Transparency NZ are writing to the Minister and the Chief Executive to ensure that those people are identified, notified, and facilitated.

We also commend the work done by Mr Graham Howell of the Wellington Benefit Rights Service for assisting the client in this case, and the new Chairman of the Social Security Appeals Authority."
Transparency New Zealand is writing to the United Nations about this matter and will assist the plaintiff in taking further action regarding the actions of the Ministry.

The plaintiff has been the victim of a campaign of bullying by Ministry of Social Development spanning many years, and has suffered extreme hardship as a result.  This Minute vindicates her and confirms what she has been saying all along.

This matter also raises a number of questions about access to justice and human rights, and the implications are wide ranging, including the questions about how many other MSD Remote Client Unit review decisions include false names of the committee members.  It seems every one of them is entitled to a rehearing.

Here is the Minute.  The name of the appellant has been redacted - but only for the time being.  Click on the images to view, and click "ctrl" key and "+" key simultaneously to enlarge the images, a direct link to the pdf file can be accessed here.




Here's where it starts getting really interesting.  "It is difficult to imagine a more effective way of undermining public confidence in the independence of the Authority than for it to acquiesce in the Chief Executive's delegate's actions."  Indeed it is.







Watch this space.
Tigger, our very diligent local correspondent