Monday, December 13, 2010

Due Process

Over the weekend we were going over some of the information HNZ have provided and the information provided is definitely not full disclosure, but then this really comes as no surprise.

But while going over these details I re-read our legal aid application and it struck me that the system is clearly broken.

HNZ have a full time investigations team working to rake up any and all information and prepare a case that is then handed over to the crown. This investigative process, as we have been told, is extremely thorough and leaves no stone unturned, and has the backing of legislation so as to ensure all information is available to it.
The costs involved in running such a team must be huge and having a dedicated investigator work on a specific case for several months would not be cheap.

Then the report is prepared and HNZ have a meeting with the crown prosecutors office who seem to have an unlimited budget and can afford to call whatever experts they choose in to give opinion as well as continue the investigative process to prove your guilt.

Now someone who is on a low income such as us really only have Legal Aid to assist us and unlike the crown these guys draw a line in the sand only allocating a specific amount of hours to the lawyer to work on the case and only providing a certain amount of money to lodge a defense.

So you have a machine with an endless budget and unlimited funds going up against someone who has very limited resources, and people expect that person to be able to prove their innocence as this definitely seems to be the case these days because, without proving their case, HNZ have invoiced us for what they believe is the shortfall in rent, revoked our rental assessment and evicted us.

In addition to this the Prosecution seems to be able to pick and choose what it supplies as evidence and not have to hand up the details, warts and all. In a way I would say this is customizing the evidence to meet the allegation's.

1 comment:

  1. Yesterday a case was heard in the Court of Appeal which is important for all of us. Last year, Housing New Zealand evicted three women from their state houses for being partners of gang members. They've been challenging it on human rights grounds ever since. The reason that its important is because of the argument advanced by the government:
    Housing NZ should have the same legal rights as a private landlords which meant they could serve a 90-day eviction notice without cause, [Housing NZ's lawyer Karen Clarke] said.
    Or, to put it another way, "Housing New Zealand thinks the BORA does not apply to it".But this is simply nonsense. The BORA is very clear: it applies to any act by the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of the government and to anybody exercising a public function. Housing New Zealand is captured by both clauses. It is a public body, exercising statutory powers. And it is a branch of the executive. The BORA therefore applies to every decision it makes. While this includes the obligations of the Human Rights Act, it goes beyond that - in addition to not discriminating, Housing New Zealand must also respect thefreedom of expression and freedom of association of tenants (oh, and not torture them - but that is less likely to be relevant). Any decision it makes contrary to those rights is unlawful and void.
    Whether the tenant's claims to be the victims of discrimination are correct, and whether the tenancy tribunal can consider the lawfulness of Housing New Zealand's eviction order are open questions (though on the latter, the tenancy tribunal is likewise bound by the BORA, and the interpretation clause suggests it must, unless there is a clear legal prohibition on doing so). But the idea that Housing New Zealand, a government body, can act like a private landlord simply fails the laugh test.
    [More from Dean Knight here]

    Posted by Idiot/Savant at 10/19/2010 12:58:00 PM
    Labels: Human Rights