Virtually nonexistent 5 years ago, the number of United Nations Complaints against New Zealand for human rights violations has skyrocketed to thirty today. The news coincides with “alarming” news that 4% of New Zealanders surveyed admitted to paying a bribe in the last year; compared to 2% of Australians. New Zealand is one of 18 countries (out of 140 signatories) which has not ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
Paradoxically, Transparency International, a Berlin-based non-profit, ranked New Zealand least corrupt in the World in its “perception index” for 2010.
The average time for a complaint to go through the U.N. complaint process for determination is more than 3 years. High profile determinations such as Jessop v New Zealand against the Judiciary and Tuhoe v New Zealand over the Police Ruatoki Raids are expected to come out of the U.N. pipeline early next year. They appear increasingly to be a harbinger of a pipe burst.
The governmental assault on personal liberties and transparency was vigorous in 2010. Judicial fiat has purged the Bill of Rights guarantee to trial by jury, Legal Aid has been brought under the control of the judiciary, the looming Search and Surveillance Bill promises expansive new Police powers, the National Business Review was forced to betray confidential sources, the claim of right defence and right to remain silent are facing legislative ruin, it was disclosed last week that SIS surveillance bill submissions are being conducted in secret, and changes via the proposed Civil Procedure Bill threaten to further restrict court access for the average New Zealander.