by Andrew Geddis

A New Zealand High Court has just told Parliament that its law limits rights in a way that cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. In other words, it failed in its basic task as a lawmaker.

The issue of prisoner voting - or, rather, the issue of prisoners not being able to vote - has been a regular bête noire of mine. Here, for example, is my view on the National Government's decision to remove the right, back when I was young and full

The High Court just gave the Government (in the form of officials in the Ministry of Health) a complete shellacking over the way it decided to remove funding from the Problem Gambling Foundation. It's worth going into the memory hole to recall what was said about that decision at the time it was made.

Judicial review of government decisions can sometimes be a bit nit-picky. It's a pretty complicated area of law. The rules around what processes officials and ministers have to follow in order to make "good" or "proper" decisions - in the eyes of the court, at least - are sometimes pretty technical .

Or, in the immortal words of Darryl Kerrigan:

Bad things are happening in Nauru. Some of us think Murray McCully needs to do more in response.

Earlier this week I (along with 27 other legal academics) added my name to an open letter being circulated by Professor Claudia Geiringer from VUW. It concerns the worsening rule of law situation in Nauru, particularly as this impacts on a Nauruan opposition MP with strong NZ connections.

Parliament - or, at least, a committtee of Parliament - is finally getting the chance to allow the public discussion of end of life choice that (most) everyone says is needed in the wake of Lecretia Seales' court case. Will it now do its job?

Update: Yes. Yes it will.

[Update: That was quick! Turns out this post was pretty much unnecessary!

Parliament's Health Committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into whether or not the law should be changed to allow voluntary euthanasia.

There may be a question mark as to whether the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club is acting unlawfully in stopping Sikh men from eating at its restaurant. But there's no question that it is acting stupidly.

The Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club has gotten itself back into the media with its dogged refusal to allow Sikhs to dine or drink on its premises whilst wearing a turban. To make it clear, this isn't because the Cosmopolitan Club does not like Sikhs.

It looks like Nick Smith and the National Government may be doing what they should have done from the outset - talking to Auckland Iwi about how they can be the developers of housing on the Crown's land in Auckland.

Otto Von Bismark is widely attributed with the remark "Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made." Turns out he never said it, but that doesn't stop the sentiment being any less true. 

The Seales v Attorney General decision was a pretty comprehensive legal loss for proponents of aid in dying. But it is by no means the last word on the matter.

I've waited a few days to post on the outcome of the Seales v Attorney General decision, finding not only that the Crimes Act totally prohibits doctors from providing aid in dying to competent, terminally ill patients but that this prohibition also is consistent with our New Zealand Bill of Rig

You should always be careful for what you wish for, in case you happen to get it.

Here's a short little story about the perils of getting what you ask for, courtesy of the New Zealand Taxpayers Union (NZTU).

In 2012, the Government promised Auckland Maori that they would have first dibs on any new housing developments on its land. So why aren't they involved at all in Nick Smith's 500 hectare vision?

Further to my previous post on the Government's housing plans for Auckland and the problem that iwi and hapū rights under the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014 may cause, my attention has been drawn to the following matters.

The Government's plans to use the Crown's land for houses for Aucklanders face a bit of a problem - it may not be able to sell them the land on which those houses sit.

It may be a reflection of just how quickly the Government's recently announced plans to free up some 500 acres of land for housing in and around Auckland were developed, but it looks like no-one stopped to ask themselves "can we actually do this?" before