Watch out for new environmental enforcement laws
The Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, introduced to the Legislative Assembly on 12 August, proposes to strengthen NSW environmental enforcement laws, and introduces the concept of ‘restorative justice’ into environmental enforcement.
Restorative justice in government ethics
….In an ethics proceeding, there may or not be individual victims. Possible victims include colleagues (e.g., fellow board members), subordinates (who may have been intimidated into silence or even required to participate in misconduct), and those working at companies doing or seeking special benefits from the local government (e.g., a victim of pay to play or losing contractors).
And, of course, there is the community, which for government ethics purposes is considered the principal victim, because it is the community whose trust has been undermined and whose tax money has been wasted on a no-bid contract or a grant to a family member. Ethical misconduct also affects a community's reputation, to itself and to the outside world.
Restorative justice: a way forward with the banks?
There are calls to prosecute and imprison individuals, rather than merely fine the companies, but putting them in the dock is expensive and they can often use legal technicalities to avoid it. It does little for the victims over and above the compensation which the bank is paying anyway. So what can be done?
Rena captain and officer sent to jail
....The men responsible for causing New Zealand's worst maritime environmental disaster by grounding the Rena off Tauranga's coast have been sentenced to seven months in jail.
...."There was substantial ecological damage to marine wildlife and seabirds, the food resources of the indigenous people who reside on the coast, the incomes of those whose living is made from the sea ... and an entire community was sent into shock."
Rena captain to residents: 'Sorry'
Rena's captain and navigational officer have visited Motiti Island to apologise to residents for grounding the cargo ship on Astrolabe Reef.
When Rena grounded on October 5 last year, Motiti Island was transformed from a pristine green paradise to an oil-soaked mess. Residents were shocked, saddened and angry.
No restorative justice for those bereaved by Potters Bar
The farcical nature of the criminal proceedings against the companies so long after the [train crash in which two women were killed] is the consequence of the failure of accountability at the time it happened. Jarvis and its chairman, Steven Norris, made spurious claims of sabotage and there was a delay of nearly two years before liability was admitted by Network Rail and Jarvis.
Even then the admission was done with bad grace. The government initially delayed making any decision on whether to have a public inquiry until December 2005. The following year Lord Justice Moses refused to overturn this decision after the bereaved families challenged it in court.
However, he said that any new evidence should lead to a reconsideration by the government and he stressed the importance of restorative justice: "They (the bereaved) do seek some identification; faces, names, the real people whose anonymity cannot be hidden behind the facade of monolithic organisations." And he continued: "If those individuals, whose actions or omissions might have saved life or contributed to death, fear that they may one day have to come face to face with those who suffer as a result of that they have done or failed to do, life may be protected in the future."
Mangakino awarded $30,000 after restorative justice process
From the article on Environment Waikato:
The Mangakino community is to receive $30,000 towards community projects from Taupo District Council (TDC) as part of a restorative justice ruling handed down last week by the Tokoroa District Court over illegal sewage dumping.
After a prosecution initiated by Environment Waikato, TDC pleaded guilty to illegally dumping sewage sludge at sites around the town in 2008. The discharges by TDC followed a series of problems with Mangakino’s sewage system.
EW consented to a restorative justice process that involved a meeting in Mangakino to work out how a suggested $27,000 fine could be put back into the local community.
Restorative justice and the BP catastrophe
The BP disaster demands justice. People are looking for asses to kick, ways to make BP–or the government—pay for their failures. Some have argued that we are all to blame because we use fossil fuels. Others argue that the oil industry is solely liable because they were negligent, under-prepared and greedy. These are all demands for a kind of justice that requires retribution. Punish the perps. I share the rage but I think this catastrophe calls for another larger kind of justice. Restorative Justice.
Restorative Justice is a theory of justice that “emphasizes repairing the harm caused or revealed by unjust behavior.”
Jun 30, 2010 Case:White Collar
Grubby white collar crime: Life without an ethical framework
The New Zealand media has been awash over the last few days, with news about the unauthorised credit card purchases by former Ministers of the Crown, including purchases for flowers, massages, and a set of golf clubs. While they have all paid the money back, it was a clear breach of parliamentary service rules. It is a practise that in the business sector would result in withdrawal of credit privileges, and possible dismissal.
Former Cabinet Minister Shane Jones, although not the biggest spender, publicly confessed to hiring around 50 porno movies while staying at hotels, and has come in for special media treatment. His wife and family are furious with him, and those of us who regard him as potentially a significant Maori political statesman, are by turns, angry with him, and saddened. I spoke with Shane yesterday at the airport, and we shared about the cathartic nature of confession, and its spiritual value.
It's time to make the punishment fit the white-collar crime
from the Nelson Mail (NZ) editorial:
....it's not easy to maintain a clear-eyed focus on justice.
Very few New Zealanders will feel that this is what happened when Blue Chip co-founder Mark Bryers entered the dock on Thursday to be sentenced on 34 charges. Most, and particularly the Blue Chip investors who have lost their nest eggs, will feel that his sentence was a perfect case of the "slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket".