Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A reminder

Earlier in the year, the World Justice Project released its Rule of Law Index, an assessment of 99 countries' complaince with the rule of law. New Zealand did pretty well on it, ranking first in the Pacific and sixth overall. But there was a down side: we ranked poorly for criminal justice, and we were trending down. And where we do badly tells a story:


[The green line is the average for high-income countries such as NZ; the orange line is the average for East Asia and the Pacific]

Looking at this, the problem is not with our law - it is with our police. If investigations are not timely, then evidence fades, criminals walk free, and justice is ultimately denied. Which is exactly what has happened with the Roastbusters case. But its not just this case - the Police are systematically failing to meet their targets for clearing cases. There is a big problem with underfunding here, but the problem with Roastbusters wasn't a lack of resources, but a basic lack of willingness to investigate serious, sustained criminal offending. And the fact that they're still not even bothering to talk to the victims tells us that this is a problem in this case.

Our police need to get their act together. If they fail consistently to investigate crimes, then people will rightly ask what purpose they serve. And at the moment, that purpose simply seems to be raiding the government's political enemies. If that's what the police are for, its time to burn down the organisation and start again from scratch.