Prime Minister John Key has called for other political parties to throw their support behind another controversial change to the legal system. The National Party will introduce a new bill this week that will update section 171 of the the Crimes Act. As with the changes to the laws around covert police video surveillance, the Prime Minister insists that the bill be passed under urgency and apply retrospectively.
The bill updates the manslaughter section of the Crimes Act of 1961, in which the current definition of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ will be redefined to exempt senior public servants who accidentally asphyxiate sex-workers at departmental parties.
‘I’ve been advised that the current wording of the law is a loophole in the justice system that could cause great inconvenience to the orderly function of government,’ Key announced in a press statement.
The law will be retrospectively applied back to December 17th 2010, the date of last years Crown Law Office Christmas function. ‘The Solicitor-General has specified this date as the key target for maintaining the integrity and dignity of the New Zealand justice system,’ Key explained, adding, ‘Go the All Blacks!’
Attorney-General Chris Finlayson has defended the move and the use of urgency and repeated the Prime Minister’s calls for political unity over the issue.
‘It is vital that parliament put the needs of the people of New Zealand to have trust in the legal system and its representatives over the rights of some asthmatic stripper and her sentimental, hysterical family who don’t know a good cash settlement when they see one,’ Finlayson told Radio New Zealand in a interview.
The ACT Party has agreed to support the bill to the first stage of select committee, on the understanding that the exemption be further widened. Under the draft ACT bill it will be legal to accidentally run over a teenage baby-sitter fleeing in terror from a private property, so long as that property has a rateable value in excess of one million dollars.
‘This is sensible policy reducing the amount of red tape which is strangling our hitch-hiker. I mean, economy,’ ACT leader Don Brash told reporters at a parliamentary press conference.
Labour leader Phil Goff has yet to form a position on the legislation, but explained that he also supported the All Blacks, a comment that has drawn intense criticism from political commentators and raised fresh doubts about Goff’s ability to lead Labour into the election.
Police Association President Greg O’Connor supports the new bill, and in addition he has called for police to be armed with savage timber wolves and the power to flog anyone who looks them in the eye. Justice officials are considering his recommendations.