Mark Mitchell

Tuning the courts

Our justice system has been improved and is now easier for New Zealanders to use, Associate Justice Minister Mark Mitchell says.

“The Judicature Modernisation Bill is an important law reform that helps modernise our courts, with most of the changes coming into effect today,” Mr Mitchell says.

“Courts are a fundamental part of the justice system, and these changes will help provide a better service for witnesses, court staff, defendants, and our communities who use the courts.

“The changes focus on creating a more people-centred justice system by making it easier to understand and more efficient for people to use.”

One of the most significant improvements is combining the District Courts throughout the country to form the New Zealand District Court.

“This will make it the largest court in Australasia, spanning across 58 court sites and hearing more than 200,000 cases a year. The District Court can now hear cases worth up to $350,000, up from $200,000,” Mr Mitchell says.

“The reform also includes steps to enable the digitisation of court processes. For example, defendants can now appear by audio-visual links for criminal procedural appearances. Read more »

Re-shuffle day, let’s see if Bill has changed

Bill English says he is a changed man. Today is re-shuffle day and many people who backed him will be sitting waiting for a call from the boss.

Fortunately, he has made some good moves in frightening off some dead shits. So he has room to play with.

For me, there are three things that will signal that Bill English is a changed man as he says he is.

If McCully isn’t signalled to be gone in short order nothing has changed. There are better more capable and not as risky options for him to use in Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mark Mitchell, Jonathan Coleman and Todd McClay can all step into his role or shuffle them around between them. That is my first indicator that Bill English has changed.    Read more »

How dirty is Bill playing?

You’ve got to admire Bill English. He has managed to achieve a coronation. His team worked hard, but then again they had two months to plan to gazump everyone else.

But there are some concerning anti-democratic tendencies starting to emerge from the fog of war.

By convention whips are supposed to stay out of the fray. Of course, John Carter broke that in rinsing Bill English the first time. However, the whips were very active in backing Bill English, especially Jami-Lee Ross who was running the numbers for Bill English and was the person who leaked to Patrick Gower.

What was astonishing however was the appointment to two other MPs to act as scrutineers in Monday’s vote. Hekia Parata and Chester Borrows were appointed and there were cries of foul deeds. Hekia Parata is well known as a Bill English supporter and so is Chester Borrows. Hekia told caucus that she could be trusted and fair to much sniggering behind people’s hands.

You might think that isn’t too bad, so what, why am I making a big deal?   Read more »

Mark Mitchell wants to punish recidivist scumbags, the criminal advocates of the opposition says that’s just not fair

Mark Mitchell, a former cop, knows how to deal with scumbags and ratbags.

He wants to increase penalties for recidivist offenders, to the point of taking their benefits off them.

A bill before parliament that would see offenders who repeatedly breach community sentences lose their benefits has been declared a breach of of New Zealand’s human rights obligations.

The government’s social services select committee is currently examining a bill brought by National MP Mark Mitchell which he says is designed to punish those who choose not to comply with community sentences, rather than those who can’t comply because of their personal circumstances.

“From my own experience there’s recidivist offenders who are given an opportunity to attend services but then choose not to … they’d rather choose to go out there and commit a crime or just basically completely ignore the chance that they’ve been given,” he said.

“This bill is specifically geared for use for people who are not prepared to engage with their parole officer and are not prepared to make any effort to comply and accept the responsibility and the opportunity of actually doing their community service.”

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A benefit payment for ex-Crims is a human right? Or so the argument goes

The wombles are out in force, now demanding benefits for criminals as a “human right”.

A move to allow probation officers to impose cuts to a person’s benefit if they fail to comply with community work has been labelled by some justice advocates as a breach of the Human Rights Act.

The changes are being proposed under a member’s Bill by National MP Mark Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell says during his time as a former police officer he had seen many people breach their community sentences, and imposing sanctions to benefits provided another tool to enforce compliance.

“This Bill is just very specific and it’s saying that anyone that’s convicted of a crime, anyone that’s actually meant to be in the community doing their sentence and they’re not carrying it out, let’s give Corrections another tool to be able to get them compliant,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Corrections will be able to advise or request [the Ministry of Social Development] to start to either withdraw part or the whole benefit payment for that person until they comply with their community sentence.”

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What a good idea, criminal bludgers to have their benefits docked

Mark Mitchell has proposed that criminal bludgers have their benefits docked if they don’t comply with court orders.

Concerns have been raised about a new bill that could see benefit payments cut for offenders who breach their community sentences.

Parliament’s Social Services Committee is currently calling for public submissions on the the Social Security Amendment Bill, which was put forward by National MP Mark Mitchell.

The bill would allow Corrections to have benefit payments for offenders stopped if they continued to disregard written warnings to comply with their community sentences.

Offenders serving community sentences are on probation, which means they are able to serve their sentences in the community but with restrictions on their movements.

Some organisations are worried about the impact the bill could have, and have questioned if it will only drive offenders to re-offend.

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Claire Trevett on how Andrew little got blindsided in Iraq

Andrew Little, helped by the Media party, is claiming triumph on his blitzkrieg tour of Iraq…in the shadow of Gerry Brownlee.

Claire Trevett explains why he’s been done like a dinner by those dastardly Nats.

At first blush, the Government’s invitation to Labour leader Andrew Little to visit the troops in Iraq appeared to be a trick.

The question is not so much why Little took up the invitation to go along with Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee. Despite having criticised Prime Minister John Key’s own visit to Iraq as a photo op, Little had no qualms about brandishing photos of himself striding manfully around Taji in his flak jacket.

The bigger question is why the invitation was issued in the first place.

A superficial interpretation of the Government’s motivations is that it put Little in an awkward situation. Politically, it was a risky move for Little. Labour vehemently opposed sending the troops to Iraq last year, yet there Little was, meeting those very same troops.

It is not unheard of for Opposition leaders to visit troops on deployment. Last year, Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten visited the troops at Taji.

The difference between him and Little was Shorten was able to stand before the troops and assure them they had Labor’s bipartisan support.

Little’s message to the troops was somewhat more complex. It appeared to consist of telling those troops he thought they were doing a good job while sticking to his line that the job they were doing was futile.

Should Little oppose future deployments, he has handed his rivals an encyclopedia of photos and gushing comments with which to lambast him.

The prospect of watching Little squirm in front of those whose deployment he had opposed may well have been the cherry on the top for National.

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Dock their benefits? Hell no! Lock the scumbags up!

Mark Mitchell is a good bastard and this is a good bill.

But watch the left-wing prove that not only are they criminal-friendly but they are the party of bludgers. With this bill they can get a twofer in proof…criminals and bludgers.

Offenders who don’t carry out community sentences could have their benefit stopped under a Bill that’s going to be debated by Parliament.

It’s a member’s Bill drafted by National’s Mark Mitchell, so it’s likely to get Government support.

Under the Bill, the Department of Corrections would be able to issue warnings with the consequence of withholding benefit payments.  Read more »

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Green killjoys bitter over Parliamentary rugby team

What a bunch of killjoys the Greens are opposing the traditional Parliamentary rugby tour.

The Greens are objecting to a corporate-sponsored trip for MPs to play in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup.

Corrections minister Sam Lotu-Iiga, his colleague Commerce minister Paul Goldsmith and NZ First leader Winston Peters are among those who will skip parliamentary sessions in lieu of the September junket.

They’ll also be at the Rugby World Cup, which runs alongside the tournament.

Also on the team are Labour’s Damien O’Connor, Stuart Nash, Peeni Henare and Kelvin Davis, and National’s Alfred Ngaro and Mark Mitchell.

“If there are corporate lobbyists going, they have privileged access to ministers,” Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says.

It is not dissimilar to the Cabinet Club approach where there are select few who get to spend extended time with ministers and MPs.

“This isn’t the first time this has been raised.”

She added: “This is a trip to the Rugby World Cup, there is no point try to pretend that’s not what it is. And the fact that it has now been sanctioned as a parliamentary trip raises real concerns.”

In 2007, then-Prime Minister Helen Clark called for an inquiry into the Parliamentary rugby team after a trip to France.    Read more »

What on earth is going on in John Key’s mind?

It looks like John Key has had a rush of shit to the brains recently.

Something is seriously wonky with his thinking at the moment.

I’m talking about the messaging over the Sabin affair.

First up National has known about this issue for months, but sat there on the info, which proved remarkably accurate, for months letting the sore fester and become pustulant, almost turning gangrenous.

That was bad enough, and sorry I just don;t believe that the first he knew about the issue was just last week. Does he not speak to his chief of staff? Is his chief of staff keeping things from Key?

Then he stood by him on Monday as head of the select committee, again why? Didn’t Wayne Eagleson take Key aside and say “Boss, I think we have a problem”

By that stage Mike Sabin must have known what was happening Monday morning, surely someone in National’s caucus did too and no one thought to tell the boss…everyone tells the boss in National.

Then come Friday and over the weekend John Key pulls his best Sgt Schultz impression and declares he knew nothing.

Finally we get this brain fart.

Prime Minister John Key has hinted at some frustration with former MP Mike Sabin for failing to tell National about the personal issues that led to his resignation prior to the election, saying Mr Sabin had almost been appointed as a minister and news of his issue had come as “a shock.”

[…]

Mr Key said the first he knew of any problems Mr Sabin faced was in early December when his chief of staff told him. It is understood Mr Sabin’s issue arose prior to the election. Mr Key revealed Mr Sabin was on the cusp of being appointed as a minister when National was re-elected.

“To be frank, he was on the list of ‘likely to be a minister.’ It was a real toss-up between him and a couple of other people who got in. That’s how confident we were, or how lacking in knowledge of other issues we were.

So it came as quite a shock to me when I was told of the matters he was pursuing.”

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