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Justice Minister Judith Collins is Incompetent (at best)!

© Peter Zohrab 2014

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A) Conflict of Interest

Justice Minister Judith Collins accepted a free dinner with two heads of a private New Zealand company, of which her husband is a director, at which a Chinese border official was present, while she was on Government business in China.  She claims that she did not realise at the time that this would create a perception of a conflict of interest, although she has admitted that it was a mistake. 

Apparently, it is common for politicians to let other people pay for their meals.  That must refer to business meals.  However, Judith Collins claims that this was just a meal with friends, since she was friends with the two directors involved, and the Chinese official was a friend of theirs.  Moreover, she claims that no business was discussed!  Why was senior adviser Margaret Malcolm present, if it was just a meal with friends?  She can't have it both ways:  either it was a business meal, which is why it cost her nothing, or it was a meal with friends, in which case everyone would presumably have paid for their own meal.

Judith Collins was formerly a tax lawyer, and conflicts of interest are a major ethical issue which every lawyer has been taught to avoid.  For example, the legal ethics textbook, "Ethics: Professional Responsibility and the Lawyer"1   has no fewer than 43 entries in its index under "conflicts of interest".  For Judith Collins not to have foreseen a conflict of interest between her making a taxpayer-funded trip to China and furthering the interests of her husband's company by lending her ministerial prestige to a meal with a trade-related Chinese government official is nothing short of gross incompetence!  Either incompetence or corruption.

 

B) Discrimination

Both the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993 outlaw sexual discrimination in various ways.  Yet Judith Collins permits the New Zealand legal system to discriminate against men in various ways. Either she is incompetent or she is blatantly sexist and anti-male.  I note that, in opposition, she seemed to be constantly attacking men, and, as a Minister, she only really started to blossom when she was photographed standing on a man's crushed car, and acquired the nickname "Crusher Collins", which seemed to make her inordinately happy!

One example is the separate offence of "Male assaults female", which carries a higher maximum penalty than does "Common assault" (the Law Commission has recommended that this discriminatory provision be abolished), another example is the fact that female circumcision is illegal but male circumcision is legal, and a third example is that the taxpayer funds a Ministry of Women's Affairs, but no Ministry of Men's Affairs. 

If Judith Collins was a competent Minister of Justice -- indeed, a competent lawyer -- she would long ago have moved to abolish such forms of anti-male discrimination.  She would realise that to have a Ministry of Women's Affairs, but no Ministry of Men's Affairs is a case of predetermination or prejudice.  It assumes -- without ever having proved it -- that the problems that women have are greater than the problems that men have, so that a Ministry is needed to address these problems. 

In fact, what happens is that the Ministry constantly tries to justify its existence by discovering and publicising problems which it thinks women have.  No one is funded to counter the Ministry's claims, and no one is funded to show that men's problems are equal to or greater than women's problems, so the predetermination that women have these problems appears to be supported by evidence created by funding the Ministry!  In fact, most politicians are totally blind to what is going on -- the Hon. Gerry Brownlee once blurted out "Bullshit!" in a Parliamentary committee, when I stated that Feminism is New Zealand's state ideology.  Obviously, you can't have state-funded discrimination against men unless Feminism is the state ideology!  Feminism is the constant search for examples of female disadvantage, and it regards any attention paid to men's problems as a dangerous distraction.  Judith Collins is the incompetent Minister of Women's Justice.

 

1 Webb, Duncan (2000): "Ethics: Professional Responsibility and the Lawyer" Wellington, New Zealand: Butterworths.

 

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17 June 2016

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