As Minister for Treaty Negotiations, Andrew Little is nearing a redress deed with Ngā Iwi o Taranaki, the eight iwi whose maunga is Taranaki. Mary-Margaret asks what the Minister has learnt from listening to Ngā Iwi o Taranaki over the last couple of years. They also discuss the lack of implementation by this government of changes that Māori justice advocates say are essential for fixing a broken justice system.
In today’s catch up with Minister Little, Mary-Margaret asks about the meaning of “operational matters” and not being able to comment on them, and what he thinks of our modern national security regime in light of revelations that our Secret Service broke into the Czechoslovakian Embassy in the late 80s.
Mary-Margaret chats to Justice Minister Andrew Little once again, on a range of topics such as the trans tasman bubble, and using opportunities for public involvement where possible. However, Mary-Margaret started by asking about how much government needs to make public when it comes to legal advice for decisions such as a national lockdown, in light of calls from Simon Bridges.
Minister Andrew Little announced yesterday the possibility of further support for tenants of commercial property. Lillian spoke to him about this, as well as the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday regarding closing the border to NZ citizens, and the submissions process for the Electoral Amendment Act.
Comparing New Zealand’s COVID-19 policy to Australia’s has been a key part of the arguments posited by those who disagree with nationwide lockdown. For their last chat under Level 4, Mary-Margaret asked Andrew about if we should be paying attention to how Australia combatted the virus without a rāhui like ours. They also discuss mental health, if returning to ‘normal’ is viable or not, and how long Level 3 might last for.
A group of academics calling for a 'Plan B' posit that the economic harm our rāhui will cause is worse than loss of life. In her catch up with Andrew Little this week, Mary-Margaret asked what the Government's response to this notion is, and if it will influence future decisions relating to COVID-19 response. This week also saw the first package announcement for tertiary students during the pandemic, and Mary-Margaret questioned the Minister about why students are the only group whose COVID-19 assistance has come in the form of accumulating more debt.
Before our rāhui, the Minister of Justice had started accepting submissions on amendments to the Electoral Registration Bill - which he says is a form of voter suppression against prisoners. He also had started a review of our Hate Speech laws. Mary-Margaret asked him more about these reforms today, and what their progression looks like when Parliament has been suspended. She started by asking, though, about the role that legalising abortion last month played in being able to declare it an essential service during rāhui.
As the Prime Minister put it, those who are in their 20s are the vector for tranmission of COVID-19. Mary-Margaret speaks to Minister Andrew Little about this, as well as a new channel to report price gouging, police dispersal and the place of cannabis in the new landscape.
In light of our COVID-19 rāhui, Mary-Margaret asked the Minister if he was worried about the extent to which noncompliance might jeopardise our efforts. They discussed what the dispersal of patrol might look like during this crisis compared to day to day New Zealand, in which police presence is noticeably unequal across regions and suburbs.
Mary-Margaret asks the Minister about last night's removal of abortion from the crimes act; the COVID-19 stimulus package and what it says about Labour's relationship to provisions for safety nets outside of pandemics; how prisoners are being affected currently; and impacts on Pike River recovery funds.