The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

NZ Court of Appeal rules against kiwisfirst publisher Vince Siemer, (who was debarred from defending himself in Court), in record $920,000 defamation case.

31 March 2011

How does ‘Justice’ work in ‘clean, green New Zealand’ – perceived to be ‘the least corrupt country in the world’ (along with Singapore and Denmark,according to the 2010 Transparency International ‘Corruption Perception Index’)?

Justice Hammond ruled in yesterday’s record $920,000 Court of Appeal ruling against kiwisfirst publisher Vince Siemer,  yet Vince Siemer was debarred from defending himself in court, at the actual defamation hearing.

How bad is THAT?

errr… isn’t it  ‘Basic Justice 101’  that there are always (at least)  TWO sides to the story – and BOTH sides should be heard in Court?


New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 No 109 (as at 03 September 2007), Public Act

25 Minimum standards of criminal procedure
Everyone who is charged with an offence has, in relation to the determination of the charge, the following minimum rights:
(a) The right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial court:
(c) The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law:
(e) The right to be present at the trial and to present a defence:
(f) The right to examine the witnesses for the prosecution and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses for the defence under the same conditions as the prosecution:

How come in New Zealand – Judges can just ‘make it up’?

How come in New Zealand – Judges can exercise ‘judicial discretion’ and make decisions which are NOT based on the ‘RULE OF LAW’?

Vince Siemer has been jailed three times, although he has never broken any law.

I have witnessed for myself, in my view,  the obvious bias and open hostility shown to Vince Siemer by Judges, (particularly High Court Judge Judith Potter), and Judges refusing to record court proceedings.

I regard Vince Siemer as a  fellow ‘Public Watchdog’ on judicial matters.

Vince Siemer’s  website is, in my considered opinion, the leading source of information exposing the lack of transparency and arguably corrupt practices within the NZ judicial system.

Have a look for yourself and see why they want to close Vince Siemer down.

Isn’t it high time for some accountability for New Zealand Judges?

Time for an  enforceable ‘Code of Conduct’ for all New Zealand Judges?

Time for a ‘Pecuniary Register of Interest’ for all New Zealand Judges?

Time for ALL Court proceedings to be recorded?

How come in New Zealand – ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’ – we don’t already have this  basic framework in place,  which would help to ensure genuine transparency and accountability in our judicial system?

Check out for yourself, ‘The Bangalore Principles for Judicial Conduct’, (a model enforceable ‘Code of  Conduct’ written by Judges – for Judges), and ask yourself why our NZ Judges are exempt from such accountability.

(A full copy of the ‘The Bangalore Principles for Judicial Conduct’, is included at the end of this post.)

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised Public Watchdog on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.
“Anti-corruption campaigner”.

Attendee: Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2009
Attendee: Transparency International’s 14th Anti-Corruption Conference 2010
Auckland Mayoral Candidate 2010.

Independent Candidate Botany by-election 2011.


31 March 2011
Okay, Justice Hammond ruled in yesterday’s record $920,000 Court of Appeal ruling against kiwisfirst publisher Vince Siemer, “We have not had our attention drawn to any worse case of defamation in the British Commonwealth, and our own researches have not disclosed one.”

The judge who wrote New Zealand’s handbook on judicial conflict of interest would know.  Hammond, after all, was the trial judge in 2001 who appointed Michael Stiassny receiver of the debt-free company with $175,000 cash at the centre of the case, and to whom Stiassny reported –  “We had begun disbursing monies to unsecured creditors on the basis of our understanding that funds would be provided by shareholders to support ongoing trading costs as provided in our cashflow forecasts.  We now have no such assurance and accordingly no further funds will be released to pre-receivership creditors”.

Judge Hammond had been formally requested to disqualify himself in Stiassny’s lawsuit against Siemer.

When Hammond refused, Siemer took the refusal to the Supreme Court.  Mr & Mrs Siemer both provided affidavits to the court swearing Stiassny bragged about Judge Hammond being his good friend.  In response, His Honour provided a statement to the Supreme Court claiming he had no conflict because his previous involvement was before Stiassny became involved.  When evidence was provided to the Supreme Court showing Hammond had lied – he not only appointed Stiassny but had dealt professionally in the case with Stiassny for seven months – the Supreme Court issued this Minute.

Any lawyer will tell you the likely reason the Supreme Court would issue a Minute rather than the appropriate ‘judgment’ was to keep evidence of Judge Hammond’s material deceit out of the official record.  Proving justice is blind, the judges on New Zealand’s highest court stood by their orginal ‘judgment’ that “bias, actual or apparent, could never have been responsibly alleged”.

Same with the Stiassny defamation claim.  Astute observers would have noticed the Court of Appeal earlier prohibited appeal against the defamation judgment, allowing challenge to only the quantum of the award.  Why did it limit the statutory right of appeal?  Could it be there is something the court is hiding?

The lynchpin in the defamation claim had always been whether Siemer was lying about the most powerful insolvency practitioner and employer of judges in New Zealand falsely labeling a solvent company insolvent.  Understandable.

If evidence existed that Stiassny wantonly labeled a solvent company insolvent, his professional reputation would be justifiably hammered.  So forget about what Siemer says.  The honourable Court of Appeal has declared Siemer is maliciously telling falsehoods and Stiassny is the poor victim – after preventing challenge of the defamation finding which was the product of a closed hearing where only Stiassny, his lawyers and the High Court judge met.

That is right: the ‘trial’ itself was ex-parte.  Rather, look at the two separate handwritten file notes of Stiassny’s lawyer Robert Fardell QC six months into that receivership (note that “Ferriers” refers to Stiassny’s insolvency company Ferrier Hodgson).

Long before his judgment yesterday, Justice Hammond was the subject of a Judicial Conduct Commissioner complaint over his alleged conflict of interest in this case.  Now that Hammond has replaced Geoffrey Palmer as President of the Law Commission, expect the JCC, who has been sitting on the complaint for two years, to claim lack of jurisdiction.

As any law-abiding citizen, Siemer has nowhere else but the Courts to turn for redress.

Such is justice in the New Zealand Courts.  Anyone who believes this is an unusual situtation can be forgiven for not knowing how the courts routinely and secretly operate here.  Perhaps it takes the “worst case of defamation in the British Commonwealth” to open the public’s eyes.




26 October 2008
Auckland insolvency accountant Michael Stiassny has enlisted his stable of lawyers to threaten and intimidate TVNZ into not running a segment due to air tonight on the kiwisfirst editor Vince Siemer’s futile  3 ½ year fight to defend himself a defamation lawsuit by Stiassny.  Believing the Sunday Programme segment was due to air last week, Stiassny’s lawyers two weeks ago dumped off weighty copies of legal filings to TVNZ they had leveled against Mr Siemer to back up their threat of yet another defamation case against TVNZ.

When TVNZ producers decided to develop the story in June, Mr Stiassny was contacted for a response, but refused.

The legal odyssey began in April 2005 when Stiassny obtained a gag injunction from Auckland High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann on a Friday evening.  Two years earlier Ms Winkelmann was the Chambers partner of the lawyer who requested the secret gag injunction on Mr Stiassny’s behalf, Julian Miles QC.

The gag injunction prevented Mr Siemer from publishing any evidence he had in relation to extensive accounting and reporting “errors” by Mr Stiassny in his handling of receiverships and liquidations.  Because all the accounting “errors” seemed to favour Mr Stiassny personally, Mr Siemer suggested the errors were suspect.

In a ruling dated 5 May 2005, then Auckland High Court Judge Ellen France ruled Mr Siemer had “no defence of truth” to what he published.  But when Siemer appealed France’s decision to the Court of Appeal, Justice Robert Chambers – an admitted close friend of Stiassny’s “Manager” Alan Garrett – upheld the gag injunction as Mr Garrett sat in the back of the Wellington Court room.

In scenes reminiscent of a John Grisham intrigue, Mr Siemer found out at least three further sitting Auckland High Court Judges had worked as Stiassny’s lawyer prior to their judicial appointments, including Patricia Courtney who had only three years earlier actively engaged in covering up Stiassny’s accounting and reporting ‘errors’.  Then a West Auckland private investigator approached Siemer to tell him that he had been approached by Stiassny to bug Siemer’s phone.  Indeed, in the contempt application by Stiassny that followed, Stiassny claimed expenses for private investigators in Italy, New Zealand and the United States in his $180,000 claim for legal costs.  The judge in that case – Judith Potter – had refused to recuse herself from presiding over the matter even though Siemer’s lawyer had an active judicial misconduct complaint against her for ruling on behalf of her brother-in-law in an undisclosed conflict of interest a year earlier.

By law, Stiassny had to file proceedings to support the Court blessing him with a rights-contravening injunction.  However, Stiassny did nothing to advance his $1.25 Million defamation lawsuit for two years.  When Mr Siemer’s new lawyer Brian Henry applied to the Court to put the matter on a trial track (something which is typically done within a couple months), the Court granted the application but Rodney Hansen J still ordered Mr Siemer to pay Mr Stiassny’s legal costs in this successful application.  Staissny’s lawyers immediately informed the Court that they were unable to meet the Court’s much delayed deadline on discovery and Hansen J promptly granted Stiassny another delay.

Though Stiassny proved quite allergic to bringing his defamation claim to a New Zealand jury, he spared no expense on countless legal motions to prevent Mr Siemer from filing a statement of defence and to prevent him appearing at any trial that might eventuate.  Stiassny’s lawyers claimed the defamation was too complicated for a New Zealand jury to understand and last month Judge Mark Cooper granted Staissny’s lawyers a private hearing before Judge Geoffrey Venning, after two other judges (including another former Stiassny lawyer – Paul Heath J) had sealed much of the evidence in the case from public or press access.

The sordid injustice Mr Siemer has experienced at the hands of unscrupulous judges has put him on a mission to create transparency in New Zealand court proceedings.  He is pushing that all Court proceedings be accurately recorded and copies provided to the parties.  Because the judges he appeared before repeatedly refused to allow accurate recording in Court, Mr Siemer risked contempt by wearing a wire.  In two hearings which were recorded by the Court of Appeal on 8 February 2007 and 18 June 2007, the Court of Appeal claimed to lack the technical ability to make copies after Court President William Young could be heard on the February tape changing material testimony and stating he had the authority to ignore the law and Justice Susie Glazebrook openly defended the illegal practice of Stiassny’s lawyers “padding” their fees in the June hearing.

“Until accurate recording of Court proceedings in New Zealand becomes compulsory, there will be no judicial accountability because currently it is the Judge’s summary alone which becomes the official record”, Mr Siemer says.   “To accentuate this lack of judicial accountability, the Office of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner set up in 2004 to hold judges accountable have handled more than 300 formal complaints to date and have failed to find one of these complaints worthy of a formal investigation.”  # RETURN TO FRONT PAGE


Posted On: Thursday, 1 January 2009


Under cover of the Christmas Holiday, Auckland High Court Judge Mark Cooper (right) ruled that kiwisfirst editor Vince Siemer had defamed Auckland insolvency accountant Michael Stiassny with publications on this site and ( website name blocked by order of the Court).  Siemer was ordered to pay $920,000 damages to Stiassny, plus unspecified Court costs.

Though Cooper’s judgment finding Mr Siemer guilty of defamation was posted over Christmas Day, the secret trial was conducted sometime in October.  Mr Siemer was debarred from defending himself at that trial because he refused to pay application costs totaling more than $200,000 which Justice Judith Potter had awarded Stiassny ahead of trial.  A Jury trial was earlier denied by order of Rodney Hansen J at the request of Stiassny’s lawyers on the basis New Zealand citizens were incapable of understanding the complex nature of the alleged defamation against Mr Siemer.

It is understood that Stiassny and an employee of Korda Mentha (formerly Ferrier Hodgson) Alan Garrett, walked into an Auckland Courtroom sometime in October and told Judge Cooper the sad story of Stiassny having to tell his children that he did not do any of the things which had been evidentially detailed on ( website name blocked by order of the Court) in April 2005. Testifying on this bizarre legal escapade lasting over 3 ½ years, Mr Stiassny told the Judge he had spent over a million dollars in legal costs pursuing Mr Siemer and that everything Mr Siemer published about him were lies which had been previously investigated by the Serious Fraud Office and Institute of Chartered Accountants and found to be baseless.  No reporters or public were present at this cosy meeting.  No record was apparently taken.

The undefended trial was the first time in the long court battle that Michael Stiassny had appeared in Court.  His appearance came after the Judge provided assurances that Mr Stiassny would not be cross-examined on his testimony.  [CENSORED BY ORDER OF THE SUPREME COURT]

Perhaps the strangest aspect of the case is that both allegations were earlier proven to be correct in Court – using Stiassny’s own documents – yet Judge Cooper failed to address any of this evidence in his lengthy 25 page judgment.

The “official” summary of the events and trial lies in the often acerbic words of Justice Cooper contained in this judgment dated 23 December 2008 which demonstrate how serious the Judge considered the defamation to be.  In paragraph [49] of that judgment Cooper quoted what he later referred to as “clear instances of vile racist abuse [by Mr Siemer]”. In an apparent quote of Mr Siemer, Cooper J stated –

“Mr Siemer had referred to Mr Stiassny as a man with “exceptional sway within the small Jewish community” and had commented that “when the judiciary determines that a ruthless and powerful man’s reputation is so priceless…the Gestapo cannot be far behind…people like Adolph [sic] Hitler….”.

The big problem is that Mr Siemer said no such thing.  Justice Cooper simply took words from unrelated articles, juxtaposed them, then attributed the resultant fictitious quote to Mr Siemer.

Because it beaches a Judge’s order to refer readers to the actual website which contains the articles which Justice Cooper selectively pulled words from, the relevant sections are printed below.

In one article which tracks Michael Stiassny’s questionable relationship with Robert Fardell QC prior to Mr Fardell’s suicide in December 2005, Mr Siemer actual wrote “Stiassny, the man (Fardell) had inextricably linked himself with, a man with exceptional sway within the small Jewish community and certain sectors of the business community, had spurned his pleas for help.”

An unrelated interview posted on the site had Mr Siemer answering the question ” Can you really argue with Judge (France’s) decision that one cannot put a price on Stiassny’s reputation whereas the only thing you have lost is your expenditures on the billboard and website?”
To which Mr Siemer answered:
“Are you kidding?!  The hearing was the same week as Anzac Day.  Those gallant men and women who paid the ultimate price for freedom would roll over in their graves to learn that a High Court Judge played truth police while quashing freedom of expression.  When the Judiciary determines that a ruthless and powerful man’s reputation is so priceless that any evidence and experiences that he claims undermines it must be purged and banned, the Gestapo cannot be far behind.  I am not being over-dramatic.  Erosion of civil liberties is notoriously unremarkable as it is occurring.  If history has taught us anything it is that people like Adolph Hitler, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein and Pol Pot succeeded in committing horrendous crimes only through purges of public opinion that conflicted with the reputation they sought to promote.”

Judge Cooper’s “quote”, which he attempted to attribute to Mr Siemer, is compiled from the words highlighted in the actual publications (above).  Readers can now be the Judge as to whether Judge Cooper could have accidentally gotten this wrong.  This example gives a small glimpse into how justice is regularly arrived at in the parochial New Zealand Courts.


Judge awards highest ever defamation damages

By Steven | January 29, 2009

This news seems to have slipped under the media radar: just before Christmas the courts handed down the highest defamation damages award in NZ’s history.

Cooper J awarded Michael Stiassny and his firm $920,000 damages against Vince Siemer for his long-running attacks on Stiassny, including $900,000 for defamation. (To recap: those are the attacks that led to the injunction that led to the contempt of court cases that led to Siemer being fined and jailed for breaching the injunction and then let out of jail to argue that he should have been given a jury trial. Judgment’s still pending on that last one).

Those contempt cases also led to a huge award of costs – more than $180,000 – against Siemer (joining many other costs awards against Siemer). He didn’t pay them. So Potter J debarred him from defending Staissny’s defamation case.

So it can’t have been much of a defamation trial. You had the country’s most famous media lawyer, Julian Miles QC, arguing one side, and on the other…. nothing. There’s a huge hole in the judgment where the discussion of defences would usually come. Were the attacks true? Were they simply honest opinion? Were they protected by qualified privilege? The judge didn’t have to decide.

At one point Cooper J said: “there is no substance in the allegations that Mr Siemer makes”. The judge really had no place saying that. Siemer has insisted all along that his criticisms are true. He’d been prevented from putting forward evidence to prove them. The judge didn’t know what that evidence might have been.

And that’s surely got to give anyone pause for thought. Nearly a million dollars in damages awarded against someone who was denied the right to present evidence in his own defence. That’s in addition to being sent to jail for contempt for saying things he continues to insist are true, and which have never been disproved, in breach of an injunction he believes was wrongly imposed.

The picture is different from Stiassny’s perspective, of course. Stiassny would say he has been subject to years of false and damaging invective from Siemer, has been forced to spend more than a million dollars on the defamation/breach of contract lawsuit, has won almost every point he argued, and has been granted costs awards in his favour, but Siemer has refused to pay them – and worse, has flouted the court’s injunction and continued to spread his poison. Why should he be put to the expense of a full trial when Siemer won’t pay for the costs of the pre-trial skirmishes – many of which Siemer initiated?

Still, this is a whopping award. It includes aggravated damages ($150,000) and exemplary damages ($25,000).

Not surprisingly, Julian Miles argued that the case was broadly analogous to two other giant NZ defamation awards: $675,000 in the Ray Columbus case and the eventual $650,000 in Quinn, though these involved national publications; Siemer’s statements were made on a short-lived billboard, some fairly obscure websites, and in letters, stickers and notices.

Also not surprisingly, Miles seems to have made no mention of the dozens of other defamation awards, many of them for fairly serious defamations much more widely published than Siemer’s, that came in well under $100,000.

Not surprisingly once again, the entire judgment feels very one-sided. It’s hard to believe that this sum would have been awarded if the case had been fully argued. (And that’s putting aside the question of whether Siemer would have been able to establish a defence). Whatever you think of Vince (and I’ve been critical of him), it’s also hard to be comfortable about the circumstances in which this award was made.

[For completeness, I should note that Terry Quinn was originally awarded $1.5 million by a jury for two defamatory programmes, but the damages bill was reduced to a total of $650,000 on appeal].


Topics: Defamation |



Posted On: Tuesday, 15 September 2009


15 September 2009
Add one more reason to why power bills are skyrocketing.  A well-placed source has come forward with information that Court of Appeal President William Young (pictured) took what likely amounted to a bribe in 2007 from Vector Limited Chairman and insolvency accountant Michael Stiassny.  The cash was funneled through a blind trust to finance a property purchase in the South Island.   The “financing” provided by Stiassny was in exchange for President Young legally insulating Mr Stiassny from evidence of business fraud in his insolvency practice Korda Mentha (formerly Ferrier Hodgson) and, possibly, at regional power lines company Vector Limited.  Stiassny is currently chairman of Vector Limited.  In 2005 Chartered Accountant Stiassny dubiously claimed publicly to have grown Vector from a $1 billion to a $5 billion company in three years.

The informant was motivated by what they see as increasing corruption in the New Zealand Court, as well as Young’s hidden history and the affront to the unwary Public that occurred when President Young was bestowed a knighthood by the New Zealand Government last month.  Court of Appeal President William Young is now “Sir William Young”.  Seven percent of New Zealand’s Judges are now knighted “Sirs” or “Dames”.

Scandal is nothing new to Sir Willy.  Neither is fraudulent accounting.  When he was with the Serious Fraud Office, William Young was caught unduly intervening to protect his cousin John Austin from criminal prosecution in the Fortex meat-processing collapse.   Two of Austin’s partners in the $100 million collapse went to prison for fraudulent accounting.   It was former Member of Parliament Winston Peters who exposed Young’s misconduct.  This was after Young attempted to demonise Peters for divulging in Parliament the off-shore “wine box” tax scams which many of New Zealand’s top lawyers and businessmen at the time were using to defraud the government and New Zealand investors.   None of the lawyers involved in the winebox scandal went to prison: Young’s road to the Court of Appeal Presidency progressed untainted.

On 2 November 2005 Young J presided over what seemed, at the time, a non-eventful appeal brought by publisher Vince Siemer against a gag injunction imposed by the Auckland High Court.  The interim injunction ordered Siemer not to publish evidence that Auckland Accountant Michael Stiassny and his firm Ferrier Hodgson had attempted to falsely label Paragon Oil Systems Limited insolvent and overcharge the company almost $11,000 in fees.

The stakes were extremely high for Stiassny because he had spearheaded a massive expansion of Vector Limited using “creative bridge financing from the United States”.  The dour consequence was Vector was saddled with a massive debt which could not sustain the share price on pure analysis.  To raise maximum capital, Chairman Staissny was aggressively trying to puff up the float price ahead of the Initial Public Offering of 24.9% of Vector’s shares on the New Zealand Share market.  The share value was integral to Vector staying within its debt covenant targets.  Standard and Poor’s had already put Vector on “credit watch with negative implications”.    Suffice it to say it would not be good if the investment cheerleader was exposed as a fraudster.

Manager Alan Garrett of (what was then) Ferrier Hodgson personally phoned Court of Appeal Judge Robert Chambers in the lead up to Siemer’s appeal of the injunction at the Court of Appeal on 2 November 2005.  Mr Garrett arranged with Judge Chambers to share an Air New Zealand flight down from Auckland to Wellington the morning of the hearing.   Garrett was pleased to learn that Judge Chambers had already read the file.  The Judge offered to Garrett that he thought maintaining the injunction would not be a problem.

At the Appeal hearing, lead judge William Young took no notes.   In contrast, Chambers J was contemporaneously composing the written ruling.  Christchurch High Court Judge Graham Pankhurst rounded out the Court.

Midway through the appeal Young J became troubled enough to suggest that the injunction issue might be settled if Ferrier Hodgson produced their bank statement showing that Partner Michael Stiassny’s attempt to overcharge fees to Paragon was resolved in the innocent manner Stiassny had claimed.   This prompted a response from Stiassny and Ferrier Hodgson’s counsel Julian Miles QC that his clients objected to this.

Evidently William Young J was concerned enough post-hearing to do a little investigation before Chambers released the reserved dismissal of the appeal.  He phoned Auckland barrister Robert Fardell QC, who had acted for both Stiassny and Siemer, to explore the practical ramifications if the Court of Appeal upheld the questionable injunction.

Mr Fardell, in turn, relayed the exchange to his junior associate Christopher Morris.  Mr Morris was in the midst of intense Court proceedings where he was assisting John Billington QC in the defence of a large law firm [ name suppressed by the Court] which was being prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office.  After Fardell was found dead at the base of the 15 metre Narrow Neck cliffs on 11 December 2005, Morris confided to his legal cohorts that Fardell was troubled by representations he had made.

The reserved Court of Appeal Judgment dismissing the appeal and upholding Michael Stiassny’s interim injunction against Siemer and Paragon was released on 13 December 2005, two days after Mr Fardell fell to his death.

Mr Siemer was found guilty of breaching the injunction by judgment of Auckland High Court Judge Judy Potter on 16 March 2006; a decision which he immediately appealed to the Court of Appeal.  At least three of Stiassny’s former lawyers currently sit on the Auckland High Court.  This includes Patricia Courtney who, according to affidavits from four witnesses, deliberately withheld evidence [* censored by order of the New Zealand High Court*] when she was Stiassny’s lawyer in 2002.  Another, Paul Heath, would later order the Coroner’s public finding into Mr Fardell’s death suppressed in a proceeding listed as ” X v X” on the Court docket, where Stiassny was the trustee of Fardell’s family trust.  The defendant “X” was the New Zealand Attorney General – who was not represented at the secret hearing.  Afterward, Judge Heath sealed the Court file itself.

It was this second appeal by Mr Siemer where Young, now President of the New Zealand Court of Appeal, sought some personal “financing” from the Stiassny faction in exchange for his continued support.  With the  quid pro quo arranged, Young P took the lead role in this second appeal ( Siemer v Stiassny CA55/06,150/06) in Wellington Courtroom 1 on 8 February 2007.  He coached Stiassny-witness Garrett under cross-examination and changed witness answers when coaching proved inadequate.   The perversion of justice apparently became so draining on Judge Young that he abruptly led the other Judges out of the Courtroom early so as to avoid having to address the appeal of Potter J’s $185,000 costs award which was the subject of a second appeal the Court had previously agreed to hear that day.

When Young P produced his reserved written Judgment on 4 April 2007, it showed little similarity with the facts as presented.  The Judgment materially distorted the evidence and submissions in dismissing the appeal.  When Siemer made a formal request for the audio-transcript of the hearing from the Court, Young P refused.  The Court did eventually provide a written transcription of the witness testimonies only, but this differed from the known audio.  Siemer appealed to the Office of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner, but Commissioner Ian Haynes wrote back to say he had no authority to access the Court’s audio-transcripts because they were “not documents”.   When he persisted with his barrage of requests for the accurate audio-transcripts, Court of Appeal Judge Grant Hammond actually wrote back in June 2008 claiming the Court of Appeal was “technically incapable” of making copies.

Justice Minister Simon Power claimed the separation of powers between the New Zealand Judicial and Legislative branches prohibited him from intervening to the extent of compelling transparency in the New Zealand Courts.  In March of 2009, Ministry of Justice Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Orr wrote that the Ministry’s position “is consistent with the view expressed by the Chief Justice ( Sian Elias )” that “the content of the Court record is determined, not by the requirements of any enactment, but by Court practice.” What?  The Justice Minister was provided an advance copy of this article for comment on whether he agreed NZ Judges were exempt from NZ laws.  As of publication, no response was received by kiwisfirst.

This profound revelation that “Court practice” trumps “requirements of enactments” prompted Siemer to petition Parliament to compel the Courts to comply with the Public Records Act 2005, the same as every other branch of government.  That petition, sponsored by Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith, and related submissions are currently before the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, with the Committee’s recommendation expected to go to Parliament later this year.

Two and a half years on, no one appears willing to challenge the Court of Appeal President concealing the audio-transcript from Siemer’s “public” appeal despite the now-circumstantial case he defeated the course of justice.

Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal closed ranks around the embattled President, hindering Public access to the closed Court file of the Stiassny injunction.  Meanwhile, Young P personally impeded Siemer’s appeal of Stiassny’s ex-parte defamation award of $976,000 released the day before Christmas last year.  Though filed in January 2009, Young P allowed the appeal a file number only two months ago, after repeated inquiries by the parties.

Sir Young still refuses to put the appeal on a hearing track.  Instead he sent out a “Minute of William Young P” on 6 August 2009, inviting Stiassny’s counsel to make a written application on “Mr Siemer’s entitlement to pursue the appeal”, as well as, “formalities”, “security for costs” and “the time restrictions provided for in the relevant rules”.  Young P’s Minute concludes with “These can fairly be addressed only if the respondents are given an opportunity to be heard.” This unprecedented special invite – particularly to just one party – is bizarre.   The routine appeal process ensures each party is “to be heard”.  There is also the irony that Young P offered respondent Stiassny this gratuitous treatment in an appeal of a claim the appellant was not notified of – a claim which was filed by Stiassny in the Auckland High Court only on 8 October 2008 and heard by Judge Mark Cooper that same day.

History demonstrates that William Young will prefer to hear from Stiassny’s counsel in secret.  Now that it has been revealed that William Young P thad a “personal arrangement” with Stiassny to defeat the very function of an honourable court, it will be interesting to see whether he can continue to keep the accurate public records of the related Court proceedings under lock and key.

Editor’s footnote: To bring this story to press was by far the most agonizing decision I have faced. Even though the facts of this story have been coming together for weeks, if not months, it was only after putting the full story together that the horrific reality of what it portrays and what is at stake became infinitely clear. There was – and is – the personal fear that I will again be detained and my home raided as when I ran the story in 2007 about Solicitor General David Collins’ perjury over the M v M case and ill-conceived “terrorist” prosecutions in the Tuhoe raids.  Ultimately I considered the ongoing threat to New Zealand if this story remained hidden was unacceptable.  New Zealanders have a fundamental right to know if the Judges who rise to levels of absolute power over society without a vote of the citizens are destroying the very laws they have sworn a solemn oath to defend.  Still, the most frightening element of this story to me remains that elected officials in the Ministry of Justice have very recently adopted the extremely dangerous position that NZ judges are personally exempt from New Zealand laws.  From this perspective, Judge Young is as much a victim as anyone placed in his shoes.  The reality is very few of us could resist the seduction of unlimited power combined with no transparency as to how we exercise it.        BACK TO FRONT PAGE



(The Bangalore Draft Code of Judicial Conduct 2001adopted by the Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity,as revised at the Round Table Meeting of Chief Justices held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, November 25-26, 2002)


WHEREAS the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes as fundamental the principle that everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of rights and obligations and of any criminal charge.

WHEREAS the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees that all persons shall be equal before the courts, and that in the determination of any criminal charge or of rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled, without undue delay, to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

WHEREAS the foregoing fundamental principles and rights are also recognized or reflected inregional human rights instruments, in domestic constitutional, statutory and common law, and in judicial conventions and traditions.

WHEREAS the importance of a competent, independent and impartial judiciary to the protection of human rights is given emphasis by the fact that the implementation of all the other rights ultimately depends upon the proper administration of justice.

WHEREAS a competent, independent and impartial judiciary is likewise essential if the courts are to fulfil their role in upholding constitutionalism and the rule of law.

WHEREAS public confidence in the judicial system and in the moral authority and integrity of  the judiciary is of the utmost importance in a modern democratic society.

WHEREAS it is essential that judges, individually and collectively, respect and honour judicial office as a public trust and strive to enhance and maintain confidence in the judicial system.

WHEREAS the primary responsibility for the promotion and maintenance of high standards of  judicial conduct lies with the judiciary in each country.

AND WHEREAS the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary are designed to secure and promote the independence of the judiciary, and are addressed primarily to States.

THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLES are intended to establish standards for ethical conduct of judges. They are designed to provide guidance to judges and to afford the judiciary a framework for regulating judicial conduct.

They are also intended to assist members of the executive and the legislature, and lawyers and the public in general, to better understand and support the judiciary. These principles presuppose that judges are accountable for their conduct to appropriate institutions established to maintain judicial standards, which are themselves independent and impartial, and are intended to supplement and not to derogate from existing rules of law and conduct which bind the judge.

Value 1:



Judicial independence is a pre-requisite to the rule of law and a fundamental guarantee of a fair trial. A judge shall therefore uphold and exemplify judicial independence in both its individual and institutional aspects.


1.1       A judge shall exercise the judicial function independently on the basis of the judge’s assessment of the facts and in accordance with a conscientious understanding of the law, free of any extraneous influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

1.2       A judge shall be independent in relation to society in general and in relation to the particular parties to a dispute which the judge has to adjudicate.

1.3        A judge shall not only be free from inappropriate connections with, and influence by, the executive and legislative branches of government, but must also appear to a reasonable observer to be free therefrom.

1.4       In performing judicial duties, a judge shall be independent of judicial colleagues in respect of decisions which the judge is obliged to make independently.

1.5       A judge shall encourage and uphold safeguards for the discharge of judicial duties in order to maintain and enhance the institutional and operational independence of the judiciary.

1.6       A judge shall exhibit and promote high standards of judicial conduct in order to reinforce public confidence in the judiciary which is fundamental to the maintenance of judicial independence.

Value 2:



Impartiality is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office. It applies not only to the decision itself but also to the process by which the decision is made.


2.1       A judge shall perform his or her judicial duties without favour, bias or prejudice.

2.2       A judge shall ensure that his or her conduct, both in and out of court, maintains and enhances the confidence of the public, the legal profession and litigants in the impartiality of the judge and of the judiciary.

2.3       A judge shall, so far as is reasonable, so conduct himself or herself as to minimise the occasions on which it will be necessary for the judge to be disqualified from hearing or deciding cases.

2.4       A judge shall not knowingly, while a proceeding is before, or could come before, the judge, make any comment that might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome of such proceeding or impair the manifest fairness of the process. Nor shall the judge make any comment in public or otherwise that might affect the fair trial of any person or issue.

2.5       A judge shall disqualify himself or herself from participating in any proceedings in which the judge is unable to decide the matter impartially or in which it may appear to a reasonable observer that the judge is unable to decide the matter impartially. Such proceedings include, but are not limited to, instances where

2.5.1    the judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a party or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings;

2.5.2    the judge previously served as a lawyer or was a material witness in the matter in controversy; or

2.5.3    the judge, or a member of the judge’s family, has an economic interest in the outcome of the matter in controversy:

Provided that disqualification of a judge shall not be required if no other tribunal can be constituted to deal with the case or, because of urgent circumstances, failure to act could lead to a serious miscarriage of justice.

Value 3:



Integrity is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office.


3.1       A judge shall ensure that his or her conduct is above reproach in the view of a reasonable observer.

3.2       The behaviour and conduct of a judge must reaffirm the people’s faith in the integrity of  the judiciary.      Justice must not merely be done but must also be seen to be done.

Value 4:



Propriety, and the appearance of propriety, are essential to the performance of all of the activities of a judge.


4.1       A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge’s activities.

4.2.      As a subject of constant public scrutiny, a judge must accept personal restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly. In particular, a judge shall conduct himself or herself in a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial office.

4.3.      A judge shall, in his or her personal relations with individual members of the legal profession who practise regularly in the judge’s court, avoid situations which might reasonably give rise to the suspicion or appearance of favouritism or partiality.

4.4       A judge shall not participate in the determination of a case in which any member of the judge’s family represents a litigant or is associated in any manner with the case.

4 .5       A judge shall not allow the use of the judge’s residence by a member of the legal profession to receive clients or other members of the legal profession.

4.6       A judge, like any other citizen, is entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association
and assembly, but in exercising such rights, a judge shall always conduct himself or
herself in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.

4.7       A judge shall inform himself or herself about the judge’s personal and fiduciary financial interests and shall make reasonable efforts to be informed about the financial interests of members of the judge’s family.

4.8       A judge shall not allow the judge’s family, social or other relationships improperly to influence the judge’s judicial conduct and judgment as a judge.

4.9       A judge shall not use or lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge, a member of the judge’s family or of anyone else, nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that anyone is in a special position improperly to influence the judge in the performance of judicial duties.

4.10     Confidential information acquired by a judge in the judge’s judicial capacity shall not be used or disclosed by the judge for any other purpose not related to the judge’s judicial duties.

4.11     Subject to the proper performance of judicial duties, a judge may:

4.11.1              write, lecture, teach and participate in activities concerning the law, the legal system, the administration of justice or related matters;

4.11.2              appear at a public hearing before an official body concerned with matters relating to the law, the legal system, the administration of justice or related matters;

4.11.3              serve as a member of an official body, or other government commission, committee or advisory body, if such membership is not inconsistent with the perceived impartiality and political neutrality of a judge; or

4.11.4              engage in other activities if such activities do not detract from the dignity of the judicial office or otherwise interfere with the performance of judicial duties.

4.12     A judge shall not practise law whilst the holder of judicial office.

4.13     A judge may form or join associations of judges or participate in other organisations representing the interests of judges.

4.14     A judge and members of the judge’s family, shall neither ask for, nor accept, any gift, bequest, loan or favour in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done by the judge in connection with the performance of judicial duties.

4.15     A judge shall not knowingly permit court staff or others subject to the judge’s influence, direction or authority, to ask for, or accept, any gift, bequest, loan or favour in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done in connection with his or her duties or functions.

4.16     Subject to law and to any legal requirements of public disclosure, a judge may receive a token gift, award or benefit as appropriate to the occasion on which it is made provided that such gift, award or benefit might not reasonably be perceived as intended to influence the judge in the performance of judicial duties or otherwise give rise to an appearance of partiality.

Value 5:



nsuring equality of treatment to all before the courts is essential to the due performance of the judicial office.


5.1       A judge shall be aware of, and understand, diversity in society and differences arising from various sources, including but not limited to race, colour, sex, religion, national origin, caste, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, social and economic status and other like causes (“irrelevant grounds”).

5.2       A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct, manifest bias or prejudice towards any person or group on irrelevant grounds.

5.3       A judge shall carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper performance of such duties.

5.4       A judge shall not knowingly permit court staff or others subject to the judge’s influence, direction or control to differentiate between persons concerned, in a matter before the judge, on any irrelevant ground.

5.5       A judge shall require lawyers in proceedings before the court to refrain from manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based on irrelevant grounds, except such as are legally relevant to an issue in proceedings and may be the subject of legitimate advocacy.

Value 6:



Competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of judicial office.


6.1       The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all other activities.

6.2       A judge shall devote the judge’s professional activity to judicial duties, which include not only the performance of judicial functions and responsibilities in court and the making of decisions, but also other tasks relevant to the judicial office or the court’s operations.

6.3       A judge shall take reasonable steps to maintain and enhance the judge’s knowledge, skills and personal qualities necessary for the proper performance of judicial duties, taking advantage for this purpose of the training and other facilities which should be made available, under judicial control, to judges.

6.4       A judge shall keep himself or herself informed about relevant developments of international law, including international conventions and other instruments establishing human rights norms.

6.5       A judge shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness.

6.6       A judge shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the court and be patient, dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity. The judge shall require similar conduct of legal representatives, court staff and others subject to the judge’s influence, direction or control.

6.7       A judge shall not engage in conduct incompatible with the diligent discharge of judicial duties.


By reason of the nature of judicial office, effective measures shall be adopted by national judiciaries to provide mechanisms to implement these principles if such mechanisms are not already in existence in their jurisdictions.


In this statement of principles, unless the context otherwise permits or requires, the following meanings shall be attributed to the words used:

Court staff” includes the personal staff of the judge including law clerks.

Judge” means any person exercising judicial power, however designated.

Judge’s family” includes a judge’s spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and any other close relative or person who is a companion or employee of the judge and who lives in the judge’s household.

Judge’s spouse” includes a domestic partner of the judge or any other person of either sex in a  close personal relationship with the judge

Explanatory Note

1.         At its first meeting held in Vienna in April 2000 on the invitation of the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention, and in conjunction with the 10th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, the Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity (comprising Chief Justice Latifur Rahman of Bangladesh, Chief Justice Bhaskar Rao of Karnataka State in India, Justice Govind Bahadur Shrestha of Nepal, Chief Justice Uwais of Nigeria, Deputy Vice-President Langa of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Chief Justice Nyalali of Tanzania, and Justice Odoki of Uganda, meeting under the chairmanship of Judge Christopher Weeramantry, Vice-President of the International Court of Justice, with Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia as rapporteur, and with the participation of Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers) recognized the need for a code against which the conduct of judicial officers may be measured. Accordingly, the Judicial Group requested that codes of judicial conduct which had been adopted in some jurisdictions be analyzed, and a report be prepared by the Co-ordinator of the Judicial Integrity Programme, Dr Nihal Jayawickrama, concerning: (a)
the core considerations which recur in such codes; and (b) the optional or additional
considerations which occur in some, but not all, such codes and which may or may not be
suitable for adoption in particular countries.

2.         In preparing a draft code of judicial conduct in accordance with the directions set out
above, reference was made to several existing codes and international instruments including, in
particular, the following:

(a)        The Code of Judicial Conduct adopted by the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, August 1972.

(b)        Declaration of Principles of Judicial Independence issued by the Chief Justices of the Australian States and Territories, April 1997.

(c)        Code of Conduct for the Judges of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, prescribed by the Supreme Judicial Council in the exercise of power under Article 96(4)(a) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, May 2000.

(d)       Ethical Principles for Judges, drafted with the cooperation of the Canadian Judges Conference and endorsed by the Canadian Judicial Council, 1998.

(e)        The European Charter on the Statute for Judges, Council of Europe, July 1998.

(f)        The Idaho Code of Judicial Conduct 1976.

(g)        Restatement of Values of Judicial Life adopted by the Chief Justices Conference of India, 1999.

(h)        The Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct.

(i)         Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of Kenya, July 1999.

(j)         The Judges’ Code of Ethics of Malaysia, prescribed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the recommendation of the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Judges of the High Courts, in the exercise of powers conferred by Article 125(3A) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, 1994.

(k)        The Code of Conduct for Magistrates in Namibia.

(l)         Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, New York State, USA.

(m)       Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(n)        Code of Conduct to be observed by Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts of Pakistan.

(o)        The Code of Judicial Conduct of the Philippines, September 1989

(p)        The Canons of Judicial Ethics of the Philippines, proposed by the Philippines Bar Association, approved by the Judges of First Instance of Manila, and adopted for the guidance of and observance by the judges under the administrative supervision of the Supreme Court, including municipal judges and city judges.

(q)        Yandina Statement: Principles of Independence of the Judiciary in Solomon Islands, November 2000.

(r)        Guidelines for Judges of South Africa, issued by the Chief Justice, the President of the Constitutional Court, and the Presidents of High Courts, the Labour Appeal Court, and the Land Claims Court, March 2000.

(s)        Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of Tanzania, adopted by the Judges and Magistrates Conference, 1984.

(t)        The Texas Code of Judicial Conduct

(u)        Code of Conduct for Judges, Magistrates and Other Judicial Officers of Uganda, adopted by the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court, July 1989.

(v)        The Code of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

(w)       The Canons of Judicial Conduct for the Commonwealth of Virginia, adopted and promulgated by the Supreme Court of Virginia, 1998.

(x)        The Code of Judicial Conduct adopted by the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, USA, October 1995.

(y)        The Judicial (Code of Conduct) Act, enacted by the Parliament of Zambia, December 1999.

(z)        Draft Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary (“Siracusa Principles”), prepared by a committee of experts convened by the International Association of Penal Law, the International Commission of Jurists, and the Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, 1981.

(aa)      Minimum Standards of Judicial Independence adopted by the International Bar Association, 1982.

(bb)      United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, endorsed by the  UN General Assembly, 1985.

(cc)      Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (“Singhvi Declaration”) prepared by Mr L.V. Singhvi, UN Special Rapporteur on the Study on the Independence of the Judiciary, 1989.

(dd)     The Beijing Statement of Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary in the Lawasia  Region, adopted by the 6th Conference of Chief Justices, August 1997.

(ee)      The Latimer House Guidelines for the Commonwealth on good practice governing relations between the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary in the promotion of good governance, the rule of law and human rights to ensure the effective implementation of the Harare Principles, 1998.

(ff)       The Policy Framework for Preventing and Eliminating Corruption and Ensuring the Impartiality of the Judicial System, adopted by the expert group convened by the Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, February 2000.

At its second meeting held in Bangalore in February 2001, the Judicial Group (comprising Chief Justice Mainur Reza Chowdhury of Bangladesh, Justice Claire L’Heureux Dube of Canada, Chief Justice Reddi of Karnataka State in India, Chief Justice Upadhyay of Nepal, Chief Justice Uwais of Nigeria, Deputy Chief Justice Langa of South Africa, Chief Justice Silva of Sri Lanka, Chief Justice Samatta of Tanzania, and Chief Justice Odoki of Uganda, meeting under the chairmanship of Judge Weeramantry, with Justice Kirby as rapporteur, and with the participation of the UN Special Rapporteur and Justice Bhagwati, Chairman of the UN Human Rights Committee, representing the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) proceeding by way of examination of the draft placed before it, identified the core values, formulated the relevant principles, and agreed on the Bangalore Draft Code of Judicial Conduct. The Judicial Group recognized, however, that since the Bangalore Draft had been developed by judges drawn principally from common law countries, it was essential that it be scrutinized by judges of other legal traditions to enable it to assume the status of a duly authenticated international code of judicial conduct.

The Bangalore Draft was widely disseminated among judges of both common law and civil law systems and discussed at several judicial conferences. In June 2002, it was reviewed by the Working Party of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE-GT), comprising Vice- President Reissner of the Austrian Association of Judges, Judge Fremr of the High Court in the Czech Republic, President Lacabarats of the Cour d’Appel de Paris in France, Judge Mallmann of the Federal Administrative Court of Germany, Magistrate Sabato of Italy, Judge Virgilijus of the Lithuanian Court of Appeal, Premier Conseiller Wiwinius of the Cour d’Appel of Luxembourg, Juge Conseiller Afonso of the Court of Appeal of Portugal, Justice Ogrizek of the Supreme Court of Slovenia, President Hirschfeldt of the Svea Court of Appeal in Sweden, and Lord Justice Mance of the United Kingdom. On the initiative of the American Bar Association, the Bangalore Draft was translated into the national languages, and reviewed by judges, of the Central and Eastern European countries; in particular, of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.

The Bangalore Draft was revised in the light of the comments received from CCJE-GT and others referred to above; Opinion no.1 (2001) of CCJE on standards concerning the independence of the judiciary; the draft Opinion of CCJE on the principles and rules governing judges’ professional conduct, in particular ethics, incompatible behaviour and impartiality; and by reference to more recent codes of judicial conduct including the Guide to Judicial Conduct published by the Council of Chief Justices of Australia in June 2002, the Model Rules of Conduct for Judges of the Baltic States, the Code of Judicial Ethics for Judges of the People’s Republic of China, and the Code of Judicial Ethics of the Macedonian Judges Association.

The revised Bangalore Draft was placed before a Round-Table Meeting of Chief Justices (or their representatives) from the civil law system, held in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, in November 2002, with Judge Weeramantry presiding. Those participating were Judge Vladimir de Freitas of the Federal Court of Appeal of Brazil, Chief Justice Iva Brozova of the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic, Chief Justice Mohammad Fathy Naguib of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, Conseillere Christine Chanet of the Cour de Cassation of France, President Genaro David Gongora Pimentel of the Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nacion of Mexico, President Mario Mangaze of the Supreme Court of Mozambique, President Pim Haak of the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden, Justice Trond Dolva of the Supreme Court of Norway, and Chief Justice Hilario Davide of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Also participating in one session were the following Judges of the International Court of Justice: Judge Ranjeva (Madagascar), Judge Herczegh (Hungary), Judge Fleischhauer (Germany), Judge Koroma (Sierra Leone), Judge Higgins (United Kingdom), Judge Rezek (Brazil), Judge Elaraby (Egypt), and Ad-Hoc Judge Frank (USA). The UN Special Rapporteur was in attendance. The “Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct” was the product of this meeting.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting corruption internationally, Human rights, Internationally significant information | 1 Comment

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing Te Whanau a Apanaui’s protest against Petrobas oil exploration off the East Coast.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing Te Whanau a Apanaui’s protest against oil exploration off the East Coast.

A flotilla of boats is on its way to Cape Runaway to take a stand against Brazilian oil giant Petrobras’s plans.

Mr Peters says New Zealanders have no confidence the government has properly weighted the environmental and social risks.

“The key issue is, have we been asked or consulted on this issue and the answer is no. It just went ahead like what Jerry Brownlee tried to do on the national parks, when they got rolled. That’s what they tried to do,” he says.

Mr Peters says the royalty rates are so low that that New Zealanders stand to make very little if Petrobras does discover oil.


31 March 2011

Winston Peters supports Te Whanau a Apanui

Te Whanau a Apanui have found an unlikely ally:
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing Te Whanau a Apanaui’s protest against oil exploration off the East Coast. 

Mr Peters says New Zealanders have no confidence the government has properly weighted the environmental and social risks.

“The key issue is, have we been asked or consulted on this issue and the answer is no. It just went ahead like what Gerry Brownlee tried to do on the national parks, when they got rolled. That’s what they tried to do,” he says.

Mr Peters says the royalty rates are so low that that New Zealanders stand to make very little if Petrobras does discover oil.

Prima facie, Winston is an unlikely source of support. However, this issue touches our nationalist sentiment, naturally it is core New Zealand First policy.
I wonder when the Maori Party will follow suit. No time soon judging by this comment From Tariana Turia:

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it’s up to individual iwi whether they want to oppose mining and oil exploration.

Of course it is. But when iwi chose to oppose, and oppose vehemently, then the Maori Party should support iwi.

“Those who don’t want to have either oil exploration or sand mining, that’s their business. We’re not in Parliament to speak for the hapu and iwi. That’s their job to uphold their rangatiratanga and that’s what they’ve chose to do and that’s their right,” Mrs Turia says.

This is an odd comment. Let’s think back to the ETS. The Maori Party were speaking/acting on behalf of iwi (at their request apparently). The Maori Party acted as a medium between government and the self proclaimed iwi leaders. The same thing happened with regard to mining Maori land. However, different rules seem to apply to Te Whanau a Apanui. The Maori Party has refused to back Te Whanau a Apanui.
Te Whanau a Apanui cannot uphold their rangatiratanga against the might of the New Zealand state. No iwi can, has or ever will. The Maori Party, as the strongest Maori political entity, is obligated to act in the best interests of Te Whanau a Apanui. A failure to act, or a remission of responsibility, is a cop out.
The Maori Party claim to act on behalf of Maori. Maori, as in the collective. The party quite often speaks of iwi katoa. It is now becoming apparent that this was just fanciful rhetoric. If faced with a choice between political expediency and principle, the Maori Party will side with expediency.
Sad. That is the only way to describe the Maori Party’s position on this issue. Sad.

Posted by Morgan Godfery at 6:00 A

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption internationally, Human rights, Internationally significant information | Leave a comment