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Public trust in NZ’s judical system

Filed under: General — allan harvey @ 12:06 pm Mon 11th April 2016

Colmar Brunton have done a survey of 1000 NZers, Who Do We Trust.
27% of respondents said their level of trust in judges and the courts had fallen cf 10% who said their levels had risen.
35% had complete or lots of trust in judges and the courts. 17% had little (14%) or no trust (3%). The majority had some trust 48%.
Younger people (45% of 18-29 year olds) had more trust 45% whereas those aged over 30 were more distrusting with only 31% having complete or a lot of trust. in the court process. Is that the voice of experience?
However the most startling result is based on household income. Those with $100,000 or more coming in were more assured 49% having complete or a lot of trust cf just 27% for those of us with incomes of $70,000 or less. I was somewhat surprised that the results for those on incomes of $30,000 or less was no different than those of us with average household incomes.
Does this reflect that those reliant on legal aid have found judges and the courts fail them? It seems to show higher satisfaction for those with an ability to pay for legal workers to successfully lead them through the maize of bureaucracy. Is this a concern? Maybe “blind justice” is peeking behind her blindfold?

12 Responses to “Public trust in NZ’s judical system”

  1. JONO says:

    Surveys like this where every participant has had personal experience of Courts and Judiciary within the last 12 months would give more accurate stats.

  2. downunder says:

    But also whether it was a criminal case or a civil court or tribunal hearing.

  3. Allan Harvey says:

    That may be true but any system where 16% of a random 1000 respondents have falling confidence says a lot in my view. Certainly doesn’t seem to suggest changes by Judith Collins have done anything to improve public confidence.
    Some areas there is a marked gain in confidence (Medical, Police and education) other areas of bureaucracy and government are falling in confidence.

    Who do we Trust

  4. Bradley Petherick says:

    It might be interesting to know
    The type of court, for example Family and more specifically children and their care.
    How satisfaction is determined?- for example optimum positive outcomes for the children must be the unit of measure in my view. In all cases we must accept that this must consider options proposed by the other side, as the court must do and potential reactions from the other side are consideration which is also in the mix.

    When children are left with a decent or ok father having given up, gone, tried, tired, frustrated by access not being provided in accordance with directions with no apparent recourse to the mother other than the prospect of more process for him can we really say “great process”? This is of course after having endured the process of getting to directions.
    Perhaps we can say great process if this is the optimum outcome.

    Statistics show that the mother’s new partner is often the child abuser, with no dad – natural protector this new partner is able to abuse away.
    This consideration seems to be the Elephant in the room re child abuse discussion. Some fathers must be kept away agreed, as should some mothers.

    Embrace good fathers, support them, help them, pat them on the back, assist them, let them know they are valued and mean it. Does this system do that?
    Has this system done that?

    Directions might say it but what are the actions beyond that?
    Teach us as well, decent fathers actually want to be good parents, irrespective of their relationship with the child’s mother. We don’t have to like each other and if the matter goes to court, probably won’t. It’s better if parents communicate well but if the matter has not been resolved by hearing time – clearly communication is not good, that must be a given.

    I believe we can do a whole lot better in terms of outcomes for the children which may be more about actually making the systemic shift which is to say “ok and good fathers are essential and not just in a contact and a break for mummy role and they are to be embraced, supported and encouraged”

  5. Elgan says:

    Articles and pretty much anything these days showing ‘statistics’ with a headline similar to the above are fraught from the get go.

    Because not everyone knows how to ‘read’ the statistics basically the media / journos pull off the parts needed to either prop up or tie down the topic their presenting. As some of the previous brothers have posted, there is so much missing specifically from the article. Not to say that there is some ‘truth’ in the content it’s how it has been packaged and presented and to what ends or means.

    I seriously doubt the sample used would have targeted specific groups I.e fathers that had been through the system via the family courts. I am not saying that there aren’t any in the sample, what I am objecting to is the under representation of the demographic in which we all sit. As it is fathers on both sides of the fence get a rough deal for past indiscretions both actual and perceived. Even so called good fathers get persecuted and past judgement over by a system setup to stifle our involvement.

    A judicial review of the the system is what is needed, it needs to be done using a fair and objectively lens that it is viewed through. As with most things presented in the mainstream media, they are answerable to this process just as much as the system itself. it does not help the cause when the media pounce on child abuse stories, to the detriment basically of fathers going through a ‘process’ at the time. Court staff have a duty of care to all whom are in proceedings or working through a process, but even they too are conflicted.

    The support services out there for men is almost non existent, there is nothing practical let alone easily accessible. It’s only until it is a requirement via the courts will men toe the line for example attendance at an ‘anger management’ type program. We have to be more proactive but this is not easy, especially with (ex) wives, partners this can prove a minefield even for the most experienced. Once we are emotionally, financially vested it is to late with communication to said partner been the first thing to go. To a degree the mothers know this and we as men (re)act accordingly almost walking blind into it. This said, there are no support services that come close to supporting father post relationship breakdown. It’s called work, local watering hole or a mates/family members couch. This is a humbling experience to say the least and not always helpful to ones emotional state. How come there is no organisation that can access emergency funding for fathers in need to be able to restore them somewhat to a point where they have some form of independence? Given when relationships breakdown the male is the most likely one to vacate with little or no financial backstop. Thus severely limiting him and his ability to still provide for his children and or himself.

    Neira te mihi


  6. MurrayBacon says:

    I am extremely impressed with this thread, especially the comments above.

    As said so well above, given that the research aimed to cover many different Government organisations, with different internal departments too, dealing with so many different types of issue, a much larger sample size is needed to handle this task competently. Maybe ok for exploratory work, to gain more funding to redo the task properly.

    In my opinion, in NZ corruption (including in the most subtle ways) is approaching the same level of damage done by incompetence. Usually incompetence doesn’t do as much harm per incidence, as corruption.

    I didn’t used to take corruption very seriously. But now that I have seen it in action and seen the longer term consequences on many people, my tolerance has far dropped. Consequences include driven suicides…… note the plural.

    NZ is sliding backwards and strenuous actions will be required, not just trivial public relations jobs, like Chester Burrows and Judith Collins have executed.

    Comparing to other countries, with working complaints systems covering judges, we should be dismissing a judge every few years. We haven’t really dismissed a judge in our entire history!

    Time to get real and protect vulnerable people more than the advantaged and privileged.

  7. golfa says:

    #6 Murray. The problem is that New Zealand can’t bear to use the term “corruption”. Preferred terms are “misconduct”, “lack of judgement” or “misappropriation of funds”. ANYTHING but using the correct term in case it tarnishes the bollocks that we are one of the least corrupt countries in the World. We’re not, we just hide it better, call it something else, fail to investigate or prosecute it.

  8. downunder says:

    Yes Golfa, that’s how I see it too.

  9. MurrayBacon says:


  10. MurrayBacon says:

    Public opinion is like a large ship. Slow to respond and even if honest and effective remedial action were to be taken, it would be a long term before the public ever regained confidence in judges. But, I certainly don’t see any hint of honest and effective remedial actions?

    It will take an incident so obvious and so unable to be ignored, before proper action will be taken. The judges are just too comfortable, have too high opinions of themselves, so why change anything? Politicians, many of whom are legal workers, are complicit in protecting the gravy train. Many reforms promised, none have any positive impact at all. No concept of serving the public at all.

  11. MurrayBacon says:

    Knowing what goes on and how well it works?

    Special report: Blind investment in early education

    10:00 AM Tuesday May 3, 2016

    The Government is pouring $1.5 billion per year into early childhood education without pausing to measure whether the increase is helping improve children’s development.

    Primary school principals say despite a huge surge in pre-school participation, they are not seeing better early literacy and numeracy skills among 5-year-olds, with some worried it is getting worse.

    The Government’s chief education scientific adviser, Professor Stuart McNaughton, said there needed to be ways to better understand the effects of early childhood education and how well it was meeting the needs of families and children.

    “I think it’s unethical to not know how well we’re serving our kids,” Mr McNaughton said.
    “We don’t know in any systematic sense just what the quality really is like on the ground, other than using indicators of ‘good practice’.

    “We don’t know as much as we should know.” ………….
    MurrayBacon comment:
    I realise that familycaught$ doesn’t have as much effect on children, as the education system and parents at home.

    However, I suggest that we do know much more about how well Early Childhood Education is working. Maybe a “C” score, maybe not quite that. Tolerably ok, but for the money spent, surely much more could be achieved?

    But as a society, we have much less idea about the reliability and quality of what goes on in familycaught$.
    There is no good quality evaluation research about what goes on and what should go on in familycaught$.
    This lack of good quality evaluation is every bit as unethical regarding familycaught$, as it is about Early Childhood Education.

    NOT tolerably ok. For the money spent, surely much, much more could be achieved?

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