New Zealand Law Society - Little gets big job as Justice Minister in new Government

Little gets big job as Justice Minister in new Government

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The former union leader and lawyer Andrew Little has been appointed the new Minister of Justice under the Labour-led government.

Mr Little, who led the Labour Party for almost three years until six weeks before the election, has also been appointed Minister for Courts, and will be the Minister Responsible for both the GCSB and the SIS.

photo of Andrew Little

The former employment lawyer for the Engineers Union, the EPMU, takes over from National’s Amy Adams in the two main roles. His Labour Party colleague, William Sio, will be the Associate Minister of Justice and Associate Minister for the Courts.

Labour’s David Parker is the incoming Attorney-General, while New Zealand First’s Tracey Martin becomes Minister of Internal Affairs.

Jan Logie is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) and another Green MP, Eugenie Sage, is the Minister for Land Information.

The so-called red-green-black coalition has 63 seats in parliament, with National mustering 56 MPs, and ACT one.

Policy slather

The three parties have issued an extensive list of aims in two separate agreements.

The Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement covers justice and includes an increase in Community Law Centre funding and the establishment of a Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Other policies to be rolled out during the next term include:

  • Introduction of a ‘Waka Jumping’ Bill. The now expired Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Act 2001 meant that the seat of an MP became vacant if the member ceases to belong to the party for which they were elected.
  • A Zero Carbon Act and an independent Climate Commission.
  • Working with Māori and other quota holders to resolve outstanding issues in the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill.
  • Allow a conscience vote for MPs on New Zealand First’s Supplementary Order Paper to the End of Life Choice Bill, which provides for a referendum.
  • Review and reform of the Reserve Bank Act.
  • Increase penalties for corporate fraud and tax evasion.
  • Strengthen the Overseas Investment Act and undertake a comprehensive register of foreign-owned land and housing.
  • Independent review of the integrity of electoral processes and enrolments.
  • Review the processes of Parliament to reflect an MMP environment.

Labour’s confidence and supply agreement with the Greens includes a referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at, or by, the 2020 general election.

The agreement also includes a policy aimed at strengthening “New Zealand’s democracy by increasing public participation, openness, and transparency around official information.”