Monday, October 10, 2005

10/10: Abolition in New Zealand

The above is Walter James Bolton, who was hanged on February 18th, 1957, for the murder of his wife. He was the last man executed in New Zealand. His hanging was botched, and he strangled; according to the prison medical officer (speaking in 1988),

It was not a successful execution. The hangman miscalculated the drop and the man's neck was not broken. He writhed for quite some time. Death was not instant.

Reportedly the sight was so terrible that the priest in attendance suffered a heart attack and three journalists were sick.

New Zealand removed capital punishment for murder in 1961, restricting it only to treason - but it took until 1989 for the death penalty to finally be abolished with the passage of the Abolition of the Death Penalty Act. 14 MPs voted against the legislation - every single one of them from National. Three are still in Parliament: John Carter, Lockwood Smith, and Maurice Williamson. Isn't it nice to know that we still have such dinosaurs among us?


qwiyqjTrason should be a capital offence - I see nothing wrong with hanging spys esp in war time. Death for murder etc shouldn't be capital offences but treason def should be.

I can't really see the point in your bringing this up in any case - what points are to be scored by your flimsy excuse for an arguement?

Posted by Anonymous : 10/10/2005 04:41:00 PM

I didn't realise the three nats voted for judicial murder - good on you for posting this.
I predict that a right wing government will probably have another crack at reinstating the death penalty.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/10/2005 05:32:00 PM

Hobbo: Judicial murder is wrong, and it can no more be supported for treason than for killing another person. I'd also point out that the very idea of "treason", much like sedition, is based on a medieval conception of relations between citizen and state, which cannot possibly be supported in the modern era. Authority is based on consent, not the other way round.

And the reason I've raised this is because (as mentioned here) today is the world day against the death penalty. Reminding us of where we've been (and who is still around who supported it) seems entirely appropriate.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 10/10/2005 07:17:00 PM

True. Not even the CHP supports restoration of capital punishment anymore (they abandoned it last year, much to the chagrin of certain ex-CHP zealots).

Craig Y

Posted by Anonymous : 10/11/2005 01:13:00 PM

I thought the "swipe" was quite elegantly put and to the point. Hone, Lockjaw and the bearded one should have been extinguished a long time ago. Ironically, if the Maori seats didn't exist they all would have faced stiffer electoral competition: the (voluntary) removal of Maori voters in their electorates to the Maori roll has always made it a doddle for National to keep the Deep North (general) seats.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 10/11/2005 01:15:00 PM

Someone should ask them what their opinion is these days.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/11/2005 09:11:00 PM

Good on you for bringing this up I/S, especially considering the "occasion." I was unaware that the death penalty was abolished so late. I think christiaan has a good point though.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/12/2005 10:43:00 PM