Letting the few decide for the many: the latest euthanasia bill

BY JASPER LAU The current euthanasia debate in New Zealand began in 2015, following Lecretia Seales’ public plight to clarify the state of New Zealand’s law on euthanasia after her brain tumour became terminal. Lecretia applied to the High Court to ask whether she had the option of having a doctor’s help to die if her suffering became intolerable. In …

Double trouble? The risk of private prosecutions

BY CHRIS RYAN Private prosecutions are a rare feature of New Zealand’s criminal justice system. Private prosecutions are prosecutions started by private individuals, rather than the police or other prosecuting authorities. However, a Court decision in March 2016 has the potential to support an increased number of private prosecutions. The Court of Appeal upheld Tamsin Trainor’s private prosecution against Neihana …

Amicus Curiae: Police, Anti-Depressants, and Mental Health – Have We Missed the Point?

By Sabrina Sachs Controversy has been swirling around recent police policy not to allow new recruits based on their use of anti-depressant medication. Are people on anti-depressants stable enough to be on the police force? Is it unethical to exclude these people from serving? Some will argue that to allow people on these types of medication serve on the police …

Amicus Curiae: Blind Justice: Does Morality Have a Role in Law?

BY ALEX CRANSTOUN When I think of the law, Lady Justice comes to mind, tall, foreboding and blind to the differences of those brought before her. Equality before the law is a staple of legal systems in the Western world. But is that really what we want? Do we want a regimented formula applied to every person who commits the …

Amicus Curiae: No Way to Minimum Wage? The Case for a Living Wage in New Zealand

By Haya Khan It’s safe to say employment options are limited for a university student. Adjusting a part time job into a hectic university schedule, exams, socialising and mandatory Netflix weekend binge-watching can take a toll on work ethic and mental health. So, for all the effort a full-time university student puts into their part time job, is minimum wage truly …

Amicus Curiae: A Labour of Love – Is That Enough For Care Workers?

BY JANNA TAY Last month, the government announced a $2 billion package in settlement of the largest pay equity deal in New Zealand history. Around 55,000 care workers in aged residential care and disability support services will receive pay rises of between 15 to 49 per cent over the next five years. And it is historic not only for the …

Amicus Curiae: Ministry of Social Development, or Big Brother?

BY CLAUDIA RUSSELL Privacy concerns over the Ministry of Social Development’s (MSD) new ‘data-for-funding’ policy were the subject of an urgent Parliamentary debate earlier this month. MSD’s somewhat unpolished approach in creating the policy has caused people to question how much the Ministry respects the privacy of our country’s most vulnerable people. Admittedly, the controversy is difficult to understand at …

Amicus Curiae: Free Speech vs Hate Speech – Where Do We Draw the Line?

By Hannah Yang In a recent open letter signed by various notable New Zealand figures, including Sir Bob Jones, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Dr Don Brash, and Dame Tariana Turia, Professor Paul Moon from the Auckland University of Technology has warned against the “forceful silencing of dissenting and unpopular views” on university campuses. There is no right not to be offended, …

Amicus Curiae: When a River Becomes a Legal Person

  BY CHRIS RYAN In March the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act became law and the Whanganui River became the first river in the world to gain legal personhood. The Act creates Te Awa Tupua, a legal entity which comprises of the entire Whanganui River and incorporates all its physical and metaphysical elements. Te Awa Tupua is …