Friday 10 October 2014

Christians, the Death Penalty and Restorative Justice

by Kim Workman

October 10th is the 12th World Day against the Death Penalty, promoted by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, an alliance of more than 150 NGOs, bar associations, local authorities and unions,  created in Rome on 13 May 2002. 

The aim of the World Coalition is to strengthen the international dimension of the fight against the death penalty. Its ultimate objective is to obtain the universal abolition of the death penalty. To achieve its goal, the World Coalition advocates for a definitive end to death sentences and executions in those countries where the death penalty is in force. In some countries, it is seeking to obtain a reduction in the use of capital punishment as a first step towards abolition. 

New Zealand abolished the death penalty in 1961, due largely to the efforts of the Hon Ralph
Hanan, the National government’s Minister of Justice at the time.   As mentioned in last week’s blogthe Labout Party had abolished the death penalty, but it was reintroduced by National in 1961.  It  was Hanan's role to introduce the legislation to Parliament, but he convinced enough of his party colleagues to vote with the opposition and thus abolished the death penalty in New Zealand.  Hanan and nine other National MPs (Ernest Aderman, Gordon Grieve, Duncan MacIntyre, Robert Muldoon, Herbert Pickering, Logan Sloane, Brian Talboys, Mrs Esme Tombleson and Bert Walker) crossed the floor and voted with Labour to abolish the death penalty for murder. As Minister of Justice, it was his responsibility to introduce the law to Parliament, but he did so by saying that he disagreed with it.  He convinced enough of his party colleagues to vote with the opposition and thus abolished the death penalty in New Zealand.
From time to time, there have been half-hearted efforts to reintroduce the death penalty.  In 2002, Christian politician Brian Neeson, a leading advocate for tougher sentences, called for the re-introduction of the death penalty, saying “I had to put my dog down once and I found it almost impossible to do, but there are some people I wouldn’t have any trouble with”.[1]

I am not overly surprised that a Christian would take such a stance.  In 2001, as a newly appointed National Director of Prison Fellowship New Zealand, a chartered member of Prison Fellowship International, I became aware of a tension within the organisation over this issue.  The founder and Chairperson of Prison Fellowship International (PFI), the late Charles Colson, a conservative Republican, had shifted his personal position from around 1995 onwards, and began advocating publicly for the death penalty in certain cases. 

Colson later claimed that his position started to shift after visiting serial killer John Wayne
Gacey Jnr.  Gacey, also known as the Killer Clown, was an American serial killer and rapist who was convicted of the sexual assault and murder of a minimum of 33 teenage boys and young men in a series of killings committed between 1972 and 1978 in Chicago, Illinois.  As Colson later explained;

Perhaps the emotional event that pushed me over the (philosophical) edge was the John Wayne Gacy case some years ago. I visited him on death row. During our hour-long conversation he was totally unrepentant; in fact, he was arrogant. He insisted that he was a Christian, that he believed in Christ, yet he showed not a hint of remorse. The testimony in the trial, of course, was overwhelming. I don't think anybody could possibly believe that he did not commit those crimes, and the crimes were unspeakably barbaric. What I realized in the days prior to Gacy's execution was that there was simply no other appropriate response than execution if justice was to be served. 

Charles Colson, in coming to that view, took no account of Gacey’s mental health.   Three psychiatric experts appearing for the defense at Gacy's trial testified they found Gacy to be a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered from a multiple personality disorder.   The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty is this year, drawing attention to people with mental health problems who are at risk of a death sentence or execution. While opposing the death penalty absolutely, they are also committed to see existing international human rights standards implemented. Among these is the requirement that persons with mental illness or intellectual disabilities should not face the death penalty. 

Colson began advocating publicly in favour of the death penalty after the 1995 Oklahoma
bombing, when a truck-bomb explosion outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, left 168 people dead and hundreds more injured. The blast was set off by anti-government militant Timothy McVeigh, who in 2001 was executed for his crimes. His co-conspirator Terry Nichols received life in prison. Until September 11, 2001, the Oklahoma City bombing was the worst terrorist attack to take place on U.S. soil.  

His position created a dilemma  for the 100 plus  nations that were chartered members of PFI.  He later explained his support for the death penalty,  and Colson's personal statement deserves close reading.  This one paragraph summarises his position.  

"I must say that my views have changed and that I now favor capital punishment, at least in principle, but only in extreme cases when no other punishment can satisfy the demands of justice.   The reason for this is quite simple. Justice in God's eyes requires that the response to an offense - whether against God or against humanity - be proportionate. The lex talionis, the "law of the talion," served as a restraint, a limitation, that punishment would be no greater than the crime. Yet, implied therein is a standard that the punishment should be at least as great as the crime. One frequently finds among Christians the belief that Jesus' so-called "love-ethic" sets aside the "law of of the talion." To the contrary, Jesus affirms the divine basis of Old Testament ethics. Nowhere does Jesus set aside the requirements of civil law."

Ron Nikkel, the President of Prison Fellowship International, took a different view, and rose to the challenge by issuing a discussion paper on the topic, urging each of the PFI member nations to consider the issue, and to discuss it at a Prison Fellowship Council meeting to be held in Johannesburg, in September 2001.  As can be seen from the following extract, Ron Nikkel’s position was very different from that of Charles Colson. 

While the Old Testament law is often used to legitimize the use of the death penalty, the overarching purposes of God toward all offenders is often overlooked.  From Cain to Moses to David and others, God’s redemptive justice is evidenced not in the execution of the criminal (murderer), but in mercy.  In the person of Jesus the full nature of God’s redemptive justice is revealed through his incarnation, death and resurrection.  The dignity of human beings created in the image of God—the justification given for execution in Genesis—is now firmly established as God (in the person of Jesus) takes on human nature and becomes one of us.  The demands of victims for vindication are satisfied in the power of Jesus’ resurrection after his victimization and unjust execution.  This power to triumph mercy over vengeance is the “Christian” victory over evil.

The Eight Biennial International Council meeting of Prison Fellowship International was held  in Johannesburg, South Africa  from the 17 – 19th September.   It was there that Council members would discuss and debate an international position on the death penalty; and I was able to attend and present New Zealand’s position on the topic. 

The Council meeting was memorable for two reasons.   First, it took place a week before the  terrorist attacks  launched by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  While it focused  minds on the death penalty issue, it also meant that the US contingent did not attend – and it was in that group that we expected the greatest opposition to the abolition of the death penalty. 

The second greatest memory was staying at a game park, which was populated by a colony of baboons.  They engaged in their own terrorist activities; invading unlocked bedrooms, attacking staff carrying trays of food, and occupying the reception area. 

We had prepared a paper supporting the abolition of the death penalty,  relying heavily on the wisdom and theological reasoning of (now) Professor Chris Marshall, currently the  Diane Unwin Chair of Restorative Justice at Victoria University.  I had 60 copies printed for distribution, and had left them on the reception desk.  To my disgust, the house baboon leapt  on to the desk, positioned herself above the papers, and urinated over them.  It seems that literary criticism is not confined to the human species. 
Nikkel however, thought sufficiently well of New Zealand’s position on the death penalty to attach it as an appendix to PFI’s discussion paper.     The concluding paragraphs of the submission sought to reconcile the competing Christian positions  and move toward a theology of restoration. 

We are aware that this position may challenge some Christians who would claim that abolitionism rests on nothing less than a fundamental misunderstanding of the holiness, righteousness and justice of God.   For those, the Bible does not merely permit capital punishment; it enjoins it as a moral necessity.  But one wonders what has become in all of this of the redemptive concerns of the Christian gospel, a gospel that proclaims God’s saving justice toward all, even the worst of criminal offenders, even those who murdered Jesus Christ , the image of God par excellence. 

Capital punishment is incompatible with a gospel of redemption and reconciliation, .  This is not to deny the seriousness of sin, the moral repugnance of homicide, the culpability of criminals or the validity of penal sanctions as such.  But the moral order of God’s universe is grounded in and preserved by something more profound than the need to balance rewards and punishments on earth. 

Put positively, Christians should be the first to clamour for true justice, for redemptive justice, a justice that fosters healing and renewal, a justice informed by the spirit of Christ and not the letter of the law.  Restorative justice cannot, of course restore the life and relationships of murder victims.  But nor can retributive justice, for only God can restore life to the dead. 

Restorative justice can however, bring as much good out of evil as possible.  It is the restoration of peace and renewal of hope that manifests God’s redemptive work of making all things new.  That is the justice that is consistent with the core aims and intent of Prison Fellowship New Zealand.”

As the debate and discussion flowed back and forth,  it became clear that those Christians from nations that had experienced major civil unrest , disorder, and major human tragedy, were those most vigourously opposed to the death penalty.  Survivors of the Rwanda
Genocide, in which over the  the course of 100 days from April 6 to July 16 1994, between  800,000 to 1 million Tutsis and some moderate Hutus were massacred. were actively advocating for the abolition of the death penalty in their country, and for the introduction of restorative justice processes nation-wide.  

 In 2006, an opinion piece on the abolition of the death penalty in Rwanda  supported that government in its efforts to introduce community-led restorative justice processes.  

“Restorative justice is a movement of non-violence. It provides a mature human response to complex situations of conflict and crimes like genocide.  It does not necessarily provide a solution either. But it is a process that respects those involved and enhances the families and communities to which they belong. It recognises that violence is unacceptable and provides a non-violent but challenging and positive way of proceeding.

Restorative justice appeals to the better side of human nature and not the destructive, vengeful dark side. It is a movement of hope. The government is showing imagination and courage in promoting some restorative justice processes through Gacaca courts. It is vital the best people get to run these pilots. But this is not just another government project.

The success of the courts is dependent on community ownership and acceptance and a passion for better forms of justice. Without these three things, they will not succeed.”

The Outcome

As a result of the discussion, the 2001 International Council meeting of Prison Fellowship International unanimously passed a resolution opposing the death penalty. 

This outcome was due in no small part to Ron Nikkel’s personal courage and astuteness in promoting the discussion across Prison Fellowship International, and providing the membership with the opportunity to debate the issues.  That he was able to do so, and still retain a positive working relationship with Chairperson Charles Colson, is a testimony to his acumen.  Ron has since retired, but is in Auckland next week, and has agreed to speak on the topic ‘Just Prison” at a public meeting hosted by Prison Fellowship and the Robson Hanan Trust (Rethinking Crime and Punishment/JustSpeak )to be held on  Wednesday, 15th October, 7.30pm at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Cnr St Stephens and Parnell Road, Auckland. 

The New Zealand submission owed its success to the scholarship and insight of Professor Chris Marshall..  At the same time that Ron Nikkel is in New Zealand, Chris will be facilitating a forum to explore the future of restorative justice in Aotearoa; looking at issues in the  Justice Sector , Education, Social Development and Youth Justice, and the development of Restorative Cities. 

Let’s take time out today to remember the people of courage who have carried forward the fight against the death  penalty, and have chosen instead to advocate for a justice that restores; the late Hon Ralph Hanan, Ron Nikkel, and Chris Marshall.   

[1] West Weekly, May 22, 2002, p.8.

Friday 3 October 2014

To the New Minister of Justice – My ‘Cri du cœur’’ (Cry from the Heart) ‘

by Kim Workman  

Justice and Dirty Politics

For those interested in the idea and principles of justice, last month was something of a roller coaster ride.  The ‘Dirty Politics’ saga revealed not only actions and activities that bore little  resemblance to our ideas about how democracy should work, but exposed a political leadership that  was  mean, vengeful, and  inherently evil.  By way of contrast, there were public acts of peacemaking and reconciliation of the highest order, which stand as shining exemplars  of the way in which justice should be done.  It brought to mind the opening paragraph of Charles Dicken’s “The Tale of Two Cities”. 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”

Let’s get the bad stuff over with first.  The ‘Dirty Politics’ saga revealed a Minister of Justice who believed that if you are wronged, you should ‘give back double;, ’that if you can’t be loved, the next bests thing is to be feared.  Whatever happened to the possibility of respect?
The whole ‘dirty politics’ debacle was gut-wrenching.  New Zealand has been served in the past by some outstanding Ministers of Justice; Jack Marshall, Ralph Hanan, Martin Finlay and Geoffrey Palmer come to mind.  They were all people of principle; people who had a vision for a fair and equitable society, and whose decisions were not based on ‘vengeance’ or pay back, but on the creation of a fair and peaceful society.    And now this. 

Justice to Be Proud Of

The Robson Hanan Trust which I founded in 2009,  is named (with the consent of the respective families) after Dr John Robson, a former Secretary of Justice, and the Hon Ralph Hanan, Minister of Justice.  Their  partnership between 1960 and 1970 produced a bundle of reforms which reshaped the criminal justice system.  Not all of them worked as intended, but they were all headed in the right direction.  Times were different, of course.  It was possible for a departmental head to have a different view from that their political master, and they were encouraged to  express and argue for it, without fear. 

There were of course, times when principles of justice were at stake – it was then that personal courage was tested.  Hanan was a tireless crusader for the abolition of capital punishment, which had been suspended under the Labour government (1957–60). However, in 1961 the National government introduced legislation which provided for capital punishment in three specific situations. As minister of justice Hanan was required to introduce the bill. He accepted the responsibility, but did not hesitate to say that he disapproved of it. He even encouraged groups outside Parliament to campaign against the legislation and successfully persuaded individual government members to vote for an amendment abolishing the death penalty.

There were times when Hanan and Robson disagreed.  Such an impasse occurred  after  the Secretary of Justice, Sam Barnett, a Baptist layman, proposed in 1959, an experiment with the appointment of prison chaplains, and subsequently the provision of dedicated prison chapels.  It proved a great success, and in the 1960’s was the subject of much positive comment from Robson.     In an article written in  1966 he noted that:[1]

“the church is an important actor in a progressive penology………there is little purpose in attempting to introduce so many of the helping disciplines, and outside agencies such as PARS (Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society) and interested citizens into our planning if we believe that human personality cannot be fundamentally changed.”

A major test of Robson’s support came that same year, when New Zealand committed troops to the Vietnam War.  A number of church leaders, including officials of the National Council of Churches (NCC), publicly criticised this move.[2] Three serving prison chaplains put their names to a full page advertisement in The New Zealand Listener, expressing opposition to the war.[4] Ralph Hanan reacted badly to this criticism and asked Robson to terminate the Prison Chaplaincy Service. Robson recalls it this way:

“The Minister tried to persuade me in 1966 to agree to a proposal that full time prison chaplaincy should be abolished.”  

Robson reneged on this request, observing that Hanan’s intended reaction;

“…..ignored the history of the question and the administrative justification for the current arrangements. What troubled me most of all was the Minister’s motivation for wanting to make the change. This political element would be perceived by the chaplains and inevitably it would lead to loss of morale among them and a drop in our standing with the churches.”

A prolonged discussion then took place “between two determined characters” and Robson noted that:

if Hanan issued this minute requiring me to carry out this directive, then I would submit my resignation and retire” even though “from a constitutional angle the minister had to win”

Hanan eventually gave way.    Robson comments further:

“this was a crucial moment for the chaplaincy – the work of fourteen years could well have been nullified and strangely enough the crisis was precipitated by something that had nothing whatever to do with the work of prison chaplains.[3]

Cri du cœur’’ (Cry from the Heart)

Andrew Geddis in his blog ‘Cri du cœur’’ (Cry from the Heart)  , put the issues much more eloquently than I ever could (although I still prefer Edith Piaf’s version) .  One paragraph targets the issue;

“What the people in Dirty Politics are trying to do is kill the good in politics and turn it into something completely toxic that destroys any hope of meaningful debate, discussion and conciliation, all so that their side can "win". If that sounds melodramatic and over the top, it isn't. You can read them saying that this is what they want in their own words. And that is a terrible, terrible thing to seek to do. Because if they win – if the way we conduct our politics and manage our differences and decide our common path becomes their vision of how "the game" should be played – then we all lose something very valuable. Basically, we lose our future.”

I don’t think that Andrew was being over-melodramatic.  It was not only about ‘win at all costs’, but equally about the values and attitudes held by people in the pursuit of what is a ultimately a  Pyrrhic victory – a victory where the heavy toll to people’s  personal mana and reputation and the nation’s integrity negates any sense of achievement or profit.

During my  period of speechlessness, I reflected on whether I had ever encountered   behaviour of the kind described in ‘Dirty Politics’.  Two incidents came to mind. 

The first occurred around 1969, when as a Sergeant in Charge of the Wellington Youth Aid
Section, I was asked by the Principal of a private college for girls, to assist with a spate of vicious gossip and scare mongering by a group of girls, which had led to one of their victims seriously self-harming.  Their modus operandi was to write anonymous letters about their targets, and with the aid of a Gestetner copying machine,  post the letters into each pupil’s personal locker.  It was unclear who the offenders were, but the letter’s evidenced cruel and vicious minds, and a value set that failed to comprehend the damage they were causing to others.  It was a reminder that even though your work life  is spent mainly with the poor and marginalised, the potential for criminality and destructiveness exists throughout society.  Here were a group of attractive, well-bred, affluent  school girls, engaging in behaviour that was potentially life destroying. 

The Principal asked me to speak at the school assembly, and engage in a ‘scared straight’ rant, emhasising the punishment they would suffer if caught.  I chose instead, to provide them with a couple of case studies, talking about the harm caused to the victims and their families, including one in which the victim committed suicide.  I left the whole issue hanging, and invited them to talk about the consequences of this behaviour with their friends and members of the staff.  It seemed to work – the behaviour stopped and two parents complained about their children being very upset by my talk. 

The second incident occurred a few years earlier (around 1967) following an incident in which gang members threw a Molotov cocktail into a rival gang’s house, narrowly missing, but  seriously traumatising a two year old child.  Police practice in those days was to interview suspects individually.  I decided to conduct an initial interview with the five suspects in the same room, to see whether the group dynamics might elicit some additional information.  Well it did.  They started boasting about their escapades and their battles with rival gangs.  It was ‘Dirty Politics’ all over again.  They talked about the kick they got from being feared within their community, the importance of ‘payback’ and getting even, and the physical harm they caused to people who resisted their behaviour.  All in the pursuit of power and ‘winning at all costs’. 

So my ‘Cry from the Heart’ is this.  Whether it is a bunch of upper-class pākehā schoolgirls, a gaggle of angry, disempowered Māori from the margins of society, or a cadre of elitist politicians and bloggers who set about to destroy lives, reputations, and abuse the principles of democracy –the motives and drivers are the same – and the impact on our nation is ultimately destructive.  And it is Not Justice

What Justice Really Looks Like - the Apologies to Tuhoe

At around the same time the nation witnessed this grubby behaviour, we got a glimpse of
what real justice looks like.  It was the image of courageous and sincere Police Commissioner Mike Bush standing before elders of the Tuhoe Nation, apologising for the events of 2007, when out of control Police terrorised the men, women and children of Ruatoki.    

That was followed a week later by an official Government apology by Attorney General , the Hon Chris Finlayson, to Tuhoe for Crown actions since 1860; including indiscriminate raupatu or land confiscation, wrongful killings including executions, years of scorched earth warfare, the failure to implement the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896 and the exclusion of Tuhoe from the establishment of Te Urewera National Park. 

The full apology encapsulated more than 150 years of Crown maltreatment, vengeful
misconduct, and the exercise of state power, and its devastating effect on Ngai Tuhoe.  Tuhoe chief negotiator for the settlement, Tamati Kruger said it was a historic day for them.  "Today, was a day to be remembered - a day to celebrate peace and a forward looking future,".  But he also made it clear that there was some distance to travel before they two parties could achieve the ultimate goal of closing ‘Te Tatau Pounamu’  the green stone door’.  ‘The Greenstone Door’, refers in a figurative sense to how, in times of trouble, peace can be secured and warfare ended through a political marriage and the exchange of greenstone. The peace thus established was often likened to a greenstone door as both were seen as being durable, strong and highly valuable.   The Crown’s dual apology provides the occasion for discussion of indigenous strategies for sustaining relationships between collectives and over generations, for resolving conflict, for peacemaking, reconciliation and restorative justice.

It will be important for the Crown to consider how to achieve the ultimate aim of reconciliation and ‘whakahoki mauri’ i.e. the restoration of community balance.  If, for example there is an expectation that at some point they will be forgiven, that may be problematic.  There is no Māori word for forgiveness. The widely-used Protestant version of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ in Māori (and the corresponding scriptural translation in Matthew 6:12) uses the term ‘muru’ to refer to the Christian idea of forgiveness, while Roman Catholic translations use words such as whakakāhore (negate) or wareware (forget, be unmindful of) – in my view, a more accurate rendition.

The word ‘muru’ means to to wipe or rub, which includes both rubbing off and smearing something on, as well as the plucking off or stripping of leaves from a branch or twig.  By extension, the term included the act or institution of ritual seizure or ‘stripping’ of goods from the guilty individual or his family or community for an alleged offence.   Māori cultural experts argue that forgiveness was not part of the indigenous thinking process.  Once the community was back in balance, the matter was closed and forgotten i.e. “wiped out” – and the greenstone door was closed on the memory.    

The overall aim of dispute resolution was the restoration of mana, to achieve a balance of all considerations and to achieve a consensus; it was not an adversarial process. When there had been a dispute that had affected the spirit and mauri (life force), the question was how to bring it back into balance. Regardless of what level or who was involved, there is the same fundamental principle, that of ‘whakahoki mauri’ or restoring the balance between the two parties.  Apparent here is the notion of ‘healing’. 

What then was this apology about – if not to elicit forgiveness?  First, it was about exercising the state’s capacity to make and keep promises – in this case, the promise of a different relationship, and a commitment to the covenant known as  the Treaty of Waitangi.  It was a genuine attempt to acknowledge and clear up the past, to stop engaging in selective remembering, and to read our national past differently. 

Economic concerns are not the prime movers in the realm of politics.  The values and options that guide economics are intimately linked to the fabric of our cultural values, which are in turn deeply influenced by our past.  The traumas and triumphs of our past shapes and informs our identity and the way we perceive our mission for the future.  It certainly shapes the way we do justice.  What are contained in these two apologies is a clear and honest acknowledgement of our history, and a declaration of our future fitness to be a trusted covenant partner with the Tuhoe nation.  A healthy ‘economy of memories’ is the founding principle of any form of dependable, authentic and just politics.  That is how we need to do justice, from Monday on. 

The New Minister’s Bucket List

You  can’t do all this overnight.  Perhaps the initial challenge is to convince the nation that as from Monday, justice will be done differently,  and the new Minister will act accordingly.

In consultation with members of the Justice sector, we recommend a number of key changes which will be easy to implement, and will signal the government’s intention to behave differently.   

Here is our bucket list of ‘Things to Do’ for our new Minister. 
  1. If you are a lawyer , keep reminding yourself that legislation may be about law, but it is rarely about justice. 
  2. Develop a Hanan/Robson relationship with your CEO.  Encourage him or her to offer advice freely, encourage robust debate, and resist the temptation to treat them  (to put it crudely) as just another ‘fart catcher’.
  3. Insist that government department’s prepare Regulatory Impact Statements on new legislation that are comprehensive, well researched and address the unintended consequences.
  4. Promote and insist on a legislative  process which is consistent with democratic principles.
       The New Zealand Law Society’s report to the United Nations has a handy list of things          not to  do;  e.g.
·         Denying citizens the right to legal representation
·         Allowing the Executive to use regulation to override parliament; 
·         Cancelling citizen’s rights to appeal to the courts to uphold their rights under the law;
·         Using Supplementary Papers and urgency to avoid proper Parliamentary scrutiny of legislation;
·         Ignoring the Attorney General’s advice and enacting legislation which has been formally declared in breach of the Bill of Rights;
·         Diverting legislation away from the appropriate Select Committee to one which does not have the appropriate level of expertise to deal effectively with it, e.g. Electoral (Disqualification of Convicted Prisoners) Amendment Bill 2010, and the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill 2010 come to mind. 

5.  Finally,   Take the time over the summer vacation, to read Amartya Sen’s “The Idea of Justice’, and its predecessor, John Rawls ‘A Theory of Justice’.  

You will know you are successful, when you are able to open a Conference on Cyber-bullying  without a twinge of guilt.  When you are able to speak about restorative justice knowing that ‘making an apology’ is not a sign of  weakness, but a symbol of strength.   When you encourage broad and open discussion about what real justice looks like, and how it can be achieved. 

We of the justice sector look forward to working with you – and we offer our support over the difficult years ahead.  We look forward to being once again, a nation that loves justice, and regards robust , honest and open politics as a force for good. 

[1] Brown, C. (1981), Forty Years On. Christchurch.
[2] Robson, John Sacred Cows and Rogue Elephants, p 280.
5] Roberts, J. Prison (1975). “Prison Chaplaincy in New Zealand.” Dissertation, Diploma in Criminology with Honours, Auckland, University of Auckland.