Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: The law may be that stupid

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  • 3410,

    When the law says "know", does it mean in the same sense as "beyond reasonable doubt" in a court of law, or is it more absolute?

    As I understand it, the latter for local elections & the former for general and by-elections.

    Why? Just because!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Natalie Smith,

    For instance, I believe that Sky City is one of the main benefactors of John Walker’s “Field of Dreams” charity. What sort of pay back will they want from John in return of their preference to his charity?

    I think you’ll find it’s the opposite. Walker’s charity gets its income from non-Sky pokie trusts, and he’s vocally against Sky expanding.

    Councillor Sir John Walker, however, is extremely concerned about the impact of increasing the number of pokies at SkyCity, which return 2.5 per cent of net profit to community groups, and reducing the number of pokies in clubs and bars, which return a minimum of 37.12 per cent of net income to community groups.

    The former Olympian – who did not respond to the survey – has said the effect would be to reduce the amount of funding for projects like his John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams, which teaches thousands of young children in South Auckland to swim.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jarno van der Linden,

    When the law says "know"

    I'd welcome a lawyer explaining the principles/case law on that one.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Stunningly, Sir John has been one of the few who have pointed this out. This must be nightmare to organisations such as Field of Dreams.

    It is damnable that charitable organisations, clubs, sports groups etc etc have to sponge off sources of funds such as pokie profits. These funds are a tax on quite a narrow population.

    Why not tax the lot of us for a 'recreation tax' and use it for such organisations to apply for?

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to BenWilson,

    It's only a figurative loophole, though. An actual loophole is a hole in the wall to look or shoot through.

    I prefer the idea of a loophole being part of a noose which the hangman places over a condemned mans head such that the real noose seems to all and sundry it will be doing its real job. And then when the trap falls, it slips off, and they live to wheel and deal another day.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    It would be a criminal case. It is almost always (but not quite always) a bad idea for any defendant to give evidence.

    When I say Banks I mean Banks’ lawyer, really, I guess. (Isn’t that a weird way to put it now I think of it? Yes.)

    The standard in the UK in 1978 for a defendant to `know’ was apparently to ``know of the relevant circumstances or have no substantial doubt as to their existence’’, can’t be bothered checking if it has changed since or if it is different in NZ. Williams uses the phrase `virtually certain’ as a gloss for `no substantial doubt'.

    The Electoral Act provides that a donation is anonymous if the candidate doesn’t know, and couldn’t in the circumstances be expected to reasonably know. [Waffle about objective and subjective tests in the law deleted — this isn’t an exam! Ed.]

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Why not tax the lot of us for a 'recreation tax'

    I think that already happens.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Paul Holmes is on the trust that disperses the SkyCity funds to charities (the 2% or whatever as opposed to the 37% from non Sky pokies). He was going on the other day about what a wonderful job that is spreading the largesse around. However, the overall effect of the SkyCity deal will be a large amount less for all the other charities and NGOs that depend on their annual funding from the contestable Lotteries and COGs grants distributed by the Department of Internal Affairs (and the others such as Pub Charity).

    Probably anyone who has ever been on a committee has had a go at applying for these funds. It is a horrible aspect of New Zealand that the community and voluntary sector depends for its survival on gambling. But this SkyCity deal will mean even less money in the system and hundreds of charities including those who work with disadvantaged children will have to curtail their activities or close altogether.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    He was going on the other day about what a wonderful job that is spreading the largesse around

    and waited until late in the panel discussion he was chairing on Q&A to declare his role. More of those wide ethics at play.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    hundreds of charities including those who work with disadvantaged children will have to curtail their activities or close altogether

    It'll stop the 'crowding out' of rich folk's private charitable impulses. Worked so well in Dickensian times..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Mckee,

    The reality is that John Banks has made great pains to push the Christian aspect of his upbringing in all his struggles to success.
    As such he can't rely on the moral aspect of this series of incidents being different from the legal in this case.

    That he has possibly behaved in a corrupting manner from a moral point of view is definitely out there and one must ask, for what is the purpose of ethics and honesty in public life if to avoid this very type of situation.

    As a professed Christian he is doubly dammed and the longer this plays out the more damage he does to his own witness and to others too.
    It sadly reinforces in the public eye that politicians aren't to be trusted no matter their moral underpinnings.

    Wellington • Since May 2012 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And it sounds like Key is resorting to taking a leaf out of John Howard's book to draw focus away from Banksgate:

    Within minutes Labour was floating quotes from Mr Key in the parallel Winston Peters-Owen Glenn donation furore in 2008 (when phone records did emerge), including the thundering: “Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a minister. That is what I would do if I were prime minister.”

    But Mr Key did not stop at piling on the pressure for Mr Banks to rebut the “thank-you call”.

    In a move purloined from the Australian conservative parties’ playbook, he went straight for the illegal immigrants. “Tough new measures” would “stop queue jumping” by masses of boat people.

    Law would be rushed into the House this week and passed … oh, before the end of the year.

    As a distraction from the difficult case of Mr Banks and the anonymous quicksand, it was about as blatant as they come.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Maurice Field, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Agree absolutely, read "The greening of America" by Charles Reich. Give everyone the same amount and make them convince as many people as possible the Banks type scenario is Bollocks. And Guys like John Key, Colin Craig or Mitt Romney should not be able to use their ill gotten gains to gain the ability to fill the trough for their mates.

    Napier • Since May 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Graeme,
    To what extent, if any, is the Prime Minister obligated to abide by the Cabinet manual?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 3410,

    and from Question Time yesterday, why is the PM not the 'responsible minister' for the conduct of his coalition cabinet? Who is?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Sacha,

    Who is?

    The market will work it out...
    As it now appears to be the National Govt's arbiter and mantra on any matters that affect people or the country, oh hang on, that's everything!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Sacha,

    from Question Time yesterday, why is the PM not the ‘responsible minister’ for the conduct of his coalition cabinet?

    Because the Government is responsible to the House for the conduct of government. And something John Banks did while he was a private citizen, and not a minister or even member of parliament is not something the PM has to answer to the House for.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Because the Government is responsible to the House for the conduct of government. And something John Banks did while he was a private citizen, and not a minister or even member of parliament is not something the PM has to answer to the House for.

    Was Banks, as Mayor of Auckland City, a private citizen, though? Not that that affects your point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Thanks. I guess we'd need to see actual proof that Banks had lied in the last few days to make it a current matter, then

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    <q>"However, the overall effect of the SkyCity deal will be a large amount less for all the other charities and NGOs that depend on their annual funding from the contestable Lotteries and COGs grants distributed by the Department of Internal Affairs (and the others such as Pub Charity).<q>
    How does that work Hilary - I run a charity and am keen to figure out what the impact will be - at first glance it's more pokies and a suspicion that Sky City does distribute pokie money in the same way the gaming trusts are required to do - ie less.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Graeme,
    To what extent, if any, is the Prime Minister obligated to abide by the Cabinet manual?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Richard Aston,

    My understanding is that there is a sinking lid of total NZ pokies. So if Sky City gets 500 more that means 500 fewer for the rest of NZ and consequently 500 fewer returns to the Department of Internal Affairs to distribute (ie 37% of 500 pokie machines' profit). Also there will be 500 fewer pokie machines for Pub Charity and the other trusts to get income from to disburse to community groups (my understanding is that each pokie machine makes a return to the govt and to a pokie trust). So when the the NGO applies to COGs or Pub Charity for a grant for its activities the total pool of money will be dramatically less after the SkyCity deal. However, there will be more money in the SkyCity community trust although not as much (ie the 2% as opposed to the 37%). The SkyCity terms and conditions are much tighter than for COGs and Pub Charity, so will be harder for some charities to function at all in an increasingly crowded contestable market.

    There are some more ethically pure charities who do not seek funding from either gambling or alcohol and they could also be affected as with shrinking pokie profits the bigger NGOs will look to any other source of funds, including their trusts and philanthropists. Small charities and NGOs know it is a tough battle out there for the fundraised dollar.

    However, I am willing to be challenged on these assumptions by someone with more knowledge of the gamblng industry.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Minimiulis Minimiulis,

    Dogs may not bark after 6 PM. I really wonder what urges the legislators to pass these laws. What happens if a dog does bark? The dog goes to prison, or the pound, or maybe the owner goes to jail because his dog barked?

    Since May 2012 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Hilary - the sinking lid policy may be a smokescreen , Manukau and Waitakere councils were running a sinking lid, not sure whats happened to that under the super city, but its not a nationwide policy . Others are worried the extra 500 pokies is actually an extra 500 pokies.
    COGS is a separate system to the Gaming Trusts but is under the same govt ministry , can't see how the two would be linked. Mind you the word was the COGS money this year was way down because some of it was siphoned off to Whanau Ora .
    If there is a downturn in the gaming trust money its likely Sports bodies will be affected the most as they get most of it .

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Richard Aston,

    Whatever, I think it would be a good idea to have an inquiry into the whole gaming industry/ charitable trust thing. Time for some transparency. And to ask questions about why the community and voluntary sector should be so dependent on gambling and alcohol, and why isn't it funded properly?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

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