Sian Elias

Does the law not apply to the Chief Justice?

It seems that laws don’t apply to?the?Chief Justice.

Cows owned by top judge Dame?Sian?Elias?have wandered into Canterbury waterways at least three times since a?warning issued?in January.

Stock from The Lakes station in North Canterbury?have been in Lake Sumner, which could?breach the rules,?and?in?the?Hurunui River.

Elias owns the station with her husband, businessman?Hugh Fletcher.

Temporary farm manager Brian Anderson?was aware only of one recent?complaint. He?said the farm did its?best, but the rules were “ridiculous”.

“The cows can drink from the lake, but the moment one?puts a foot in you’re breaking the rules. They can stand in the river, but can’t walk another metre into the lake.?It’s a bit pointless,” he?said.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) issued Elias and Fletcher a warning after a holidaymaker photographed?their?cows standing in Lake Taylor, which?borders a Department of Conservation (Doc) campsite, in January.

After an investigation, ECan?determined they had breached the rules but stopped short of issuing a fine, saying it was an isolated incident.

Under regional rules, cows are allowed access to high country rivers, provided the environmental effects are minor. They are not allowed to stand in lakes.?The maximum fine for breaching the rules?is $750.

Read more »

Who will be New Zealand’s next Governor-General?

Sir Jerry?Mateparae will complete his five-year term shortly.

Who will replace him?

A new Governor-General will be announced before the month is up.

The current Head of State?representative?Sir Jerry Mateparae will finish up his five-year term with a state farewell on 31 August.

So who will take his place and live it up lush at Government House? ? ? Read more »

How is this consistent with letting a judge off with a warning?

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CRAIG SIMCOX/FAIRFAX NZ, via Stuff

Farmers could face thousands of dollars in fines if their stock are found to be in waterways, as the government looks to tackle water quality issues.

The lack of consistency and enforcement of local council rules around stock access to waterways has prompted the government to introduce national regulations around the issue.

A consultation document featuring 23 initiatives to improve water quality was announced by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Environment Minister Nick Smith at the annual BlueGreens Forum in Tekapo on Saturday.

Dairy cows and pigs will be required to be fenced off from waterways by July 2017. Other stock would be progressively included in the regulations by 2030.

It is hard to understand why our Chief Justice Sian Elias got a mere warning.? If nothing else, it was a great opportunity to set an example and take it on the chin. ?It’s not as if a fine would have created any financial hardship. Read more »

We don?t want dogs crapping in the street, so why do we accept cows crapping in our water?

Water quality is important. For some reason there is an element in our society who seem to think that just because farmers have been allowing cattle to roam in waterways for 100 years we should still allow it today.

Auckland used to pour its sewage straight into the Manukau Harbour…we don’t any more. The Thames River in the UK was very nearly dead because?it was treated as an open sewer. It isn’t any more. Many towns in New Zealand used to dump sewage and factory run-off into our rivers; now it is policed and we are working on stopping the practice.

We expect dog owners to pick up the leavings of their dogs; we used to allow people to leave dog poop all over the place. We’ve changed.

Farmers need to get with the programme. Many do but some let them all down.

Clean water campaigners believe the quality of New Zealand’s fresh water is nearing crisis level.

It comes after a herd of cattle was pictured polluting a North Canterbury Lake.

The cattle were back on dry land well away from Lake Taylor today, but it was a picture taken by a camper over the New Year period that prompted Environment Canterbury (ECan) to pay a visit to cattle’s owners.

It’s not good practice to have stock in the water,” says ECan consents and compliance manager Marty Mortiaux. ? Read more »

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Surely the Chief Justice should follow the law?

You’d think if you were the Chief Justice you’d make sure that any enterprise that you were a shareholder/owner of would be following the law…not in this country though.

A South Island farm owned by Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias has been complained about before, with witnesses describing repeated incidents of cattle and sheep wading in lakes.

A past complainant described the farmer as “riding roughshod” over the concerns of other people using the area, and witnessed a “disturbing amount of cow s…” in another lake at the property.

Holidaymaker Allan Brown photographed cattle drinking in Lake Taylor, about 50 kilometres northwest of Hawarden, last week. He had since lodged a complaint with Environment Canterbury (ECan).

His picture, which had been widely shared online, showed the animals were on Lakes Station land.

Elias and her businessman husband, Hugh Fletcher, were the majority owners?of the 5000-hectare high country farm.

Fletcher told RNZ he let the cows into the lake on hot days, but their access was not continuous. ? Read more »

Are Judges underpaid?

CHIEF JUSTICE Sian Elias has received another pay rise, taking her annual salary to well over $500,000 a year – $60,000 more than Prime Minister John Key?s yearly pay packet.

The Remuneration Authority has approved pay rises for all New Zealand judges in line with the rate of inflation and in keeping with the average wage increase of 1.7 per cent for most workers across the country.

The 2 per cent increase is less than what the Authority agreed upon for MPs last year.

In February last year MPs were awarded a 3.5 per cent pay rise, taking the base salary for a backbench MP from $147,800 to $156,000. Following that determination, Key?s salary rose by $23,800 to $452,500.

That means he still earns $62,000 less than the woman who heads the judiciary and presides over the Supreme Court.

Sian Elias? annual salary has risen from $504,000 to $514,000 – $32,000 more than the $482,500 her colleagues on the Supreme Court will receive under the new pay determinations.

Pay rates for Court of Appeal judges will rise from $444,000 a year to $453,000 a year. Salaries for High Court judges and the Chief District Court judge Jan-Marie Doogue will go up from $422,500 to $431,000 while pay rates for district court judges and Maori Land Court judges will rise from $322,500 to $329,000.? Read more »

Merry Effin’ Christmas Kim and Nicky

Schei?e! Another loss

Schei?e! Another loss

Kim Dotcom got the Christmas present he didn’t want…yet another court judgment against him.

This time there are no more appeals…the Supreme Court has ruled the warrants for his raid and search were 100% legal.

The police raids on internet mogul Kim Dotcom’s mansion were legal, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The court has upheld a Court of Appeal decision that while the search warrants could have been more precisely written they were legal.

The warrants, executed by police on the properties of Dotcom and his associate Bram van der Kolk in January 2012, resulted in the seizure of some 135 electronic items. ? ?? Read more »

Finally someone deals to a vexatious litigant

I think the law needs to be ?strengthened regarding vexatious litigants. It is exceedingly outdated and very difficult to get someone declared as such.

Stephanie Flores at NBR is reporting that one such litigant has just got his beans.

The Supreme Court has denied ?vexatious litigant? John Slavich a bid to appeal a review of his court costs for a pair of related appeals.

Mr Slavich sought a review of the registrar?s decision to charge security for costs of $5880 for High Court proceedings that concluded he was a vexatious litigant earlier this year.

Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias and Justices Terence Arnold and William Young denied his request, then slapped him with another $2500 plus “any reasonable disbursements determined by the registrar.”

The former Waikato accountant was jailed for two years and three months in 2006 after he was found guilty by Justice Paul Heath of forgery in relation to property frauds. In the years that followed, he launched dozens of corruption complaints against judges as well as private prosecutions against representatives of the Crown.? Read more »

Key says Maori King is wrong

John Key has come out and pointed out to the illiterate truck driver who?masquerades?as a King that he is wrong over water:

Prime Minister John Key says King Tuheitia’s claim that Maori have always owned New Zealand’s water is “just plain wrong”.

All the advice the Government has received is that the common-law position that no one owns the water stands, he told the Weekend Herald yesterday.

“I just don’t believe there is anything we are doing that is legally or morally wrong.

“We are following the best advice, and advice we believe is established in law, albeit that the law is embryonic is this area.”

He said there was no reason for Maori water rights issues to delay the sale of Mighty River Power shares.

“It’s a Treaty partner relationship between Maori and the Crown, it’s not an issue between Mighty River Power and Maori.”

Anyone who thought the sale of Mighty River shares and Maori rights were linked would have to believe that Maori could not register their interests and rights in waters used by Contact Energy, a company that had been 100 per cent sold.

“I’ll bet you those iwi don’t agree with that proposition.”

National is consulting with greedy Maori, mostly so that they can claim in the ensuing court case that they did everything they could to discuss these issues.

This is, I?believe,?a flawed plan.

National are banking on a win in court. I wouldn’t be so sure of that. The courts are stacked with activists Judges and the Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias is a flunky of the previous government who I understand likes to conduct her own judicial activism by way of her husband and their not inconsequential funds which find their way from time to time into the hands of various political parties of the left.

Entering court is fraught with danger for the government.

I think what we are going to eventually see is a necessary legislative change but not before we see an election, possibly and early one, fought over this issue that will be divisive politically but should deliver a stable government with a mandate that cannot be questioned.

A tipping point has been reached. By and large most Kiwis are fair minded and believe that there were serious Maori?grievances, some, precious few remain. However the goodwill has evaporated with a resurgant and apparently rapacious and?emboldened?Maori seeking to grab even more.

So far Treaty?settlements?have poured more than $1,780,000,000 into Maori coffers and still they want more. Successive governments have acted in good faith and with genuine goodwill. I?believe?that has now come to an end.

As Matthew Hooton points out in his column in the NBR, this isn’t going to end anytime soon:

Be aware, this thesis is backed by a newspaper column?s worth of research. ?With a few million dollars of legal aid, Russell McVeagh, Chapman Tripp, Bell Gully, Buddle Findlay or Donna Hall will be able to construct a far more powerful argument designed to ultimately be accepted by a majority of the Supreme Court.

Appeasement never worked for Neville Chamberlain and now it appears that it hasn’t worked for the New Zealand population. Difficult times are ahead.

Fragile Independence?

Interesting comment from Dame Sian Elias:

The country’s top judge has taken a veiled swipe at the Government’s justice policies, warning that some Cabinet decisions threaten the “fragile” independence of the judiciary.

In a rare public critique, Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias warns that decisions “which seem quite innocent” are undermining the basic principles of the constitution.

In a speech at Waikato University last month, Dame Sian broke with convention, criticising moves by politicians to interfere with the courts in pursuit of cost savings.

“It is not always easy to appreciate that proposals which seem quite innocent or efficient or pragmatic may trample on basic principle.”

It is not the first time Dame Sian has hit out at the Government.

Very interesting considering she thinks it appropriate to host and assist in the setting up of a political party?including?funding?arrangements?in the living room of her own house. You could almost say that she wilfully is trampling on the premise that the?judiciary?stays out of politics by hosting such meetings.

If anyone is busting?the?fragile?independence?of the judiciary it is the Chief Justice meddling in the democratic processes of the country.