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Legal Studies

lg301 the State and the individual

2009/1 - Part one


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Learning Purpose The purpose of this unit of learning (LG301 and LG302) is to be able to describe and evaluate the legal relationship between the State and the individual.

Learning Outcome People who successfully complete this course will able to: • describe legal duties and rights between the State and the individual. • describe and evaluate controls on the exercise of State power. • present and evaluate their own viewpoints on the balance between State power and individual rights in New Zealand.

Table of Contents Lesson 1

Legal Duties and Rights between the State and the Individual

Lesson 2

New Zealand Law and the Rights of the Individual

Lesson 3

International Agreements

Lesson 4

Legal Duties Owed to the State by the Individual

Lesson 5

Controls on the Exercise of State Power

Lesson 6

Contacting Members of Parliament

Lesson 7

Protests

Answers

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NZQA Information The information contained in this resource is relevant to assessment against the following NZQA unit standards from the Legal Studies domain. U/S 10341 v3

Level

Credit

Title

3

4

Describe and evaluate the legal relationship between the State and the individual.

The information covered in the resource may also relate to unit standards in other domains.

Level Descriptor The unit standard is at level 3 of the NQF. At this level the learner is expected to be able to: Carry out processes that:

Employing:

Applied:

• require a range of well developed skills.

• some relevant theoretical knowledge.

• in directed activity with some autonomy.

• offer a significant choice of procedures.

• interpretation of available information.

• under general supervision and quality checking.

• are employed within a range of familiar contexts.

• discretion and judgement.

• with significant responsibility for the quantity and quality of output.

• a range of known responses to familiar problems.

• with possible responsibility for the output of others.

Learners may find the following references of help in their studies. • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ministry of Justice website: www.justice.govt.nz The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: www.unicef.org Office of the Ombudsmen website: www.ombudsmen.govt.nz Human Rights Commission website: www.hrc.co.nz Office of Film and Literature Classification: www.censorship.govt.nz Office of the Privacy Commissioner website: www.privacy.org.nz United Nations website: www.un.org/english/ New Zealand Central and Local Government Services website: newzealand.govt.nz New Zealand Immigration Service website: www.immigration.govt.nz Accident Compensation Corporation website: www.acc.org.nz Department of Labour website: www.dol.govt.nz Guide to Government and Parliament: www.decisionmaker.co.nz

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• Lawrence, Martin. Legal Studies: A First Book on New Zealand Law. (Palmerston North: Dunmore Press, 2004).

Legislation relevant to this unit standard includes: • • • • • •

Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 Human Rights Act 1993 New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 Official Information Act 1982 Ombudsmen Act 1975 Privacy Act 1993 and their subsequent amendments.

All these Acts are available online at www.knowledge-basket.co.nz (Click on ‘Databases’, then select ‘LegislationNZ’ from the side menu and select ‘Anyone can browse the Acts for free’. Then browse for the Acts).

International documents relevant to this unit standard include: • • • • •

(First) Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1976. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1976. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1976. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1993. United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights 1948 and their subsequent amendments.

Recommended Reading The following texts are recommended as background reading for this unit. Availability of resources may vary in each region. Gray, B.D. & McClintock R.B. Courts and Policy: Checking the Balance. (Wellington: Brooker’s Ltd, 1995). Joseph, P.A. Constitutional and Administrative Law in New Zealand (3rd Edition). (Wellington: Thomson Brookers Ltd, 2007). Longworth, E. & McBride, T. The Privacy Act: A Guide. (Wellington: GP Publications, 1994). Palmer, G & Palmer, M. Bridled Power: New Zealand’s Constitution and Government (Fourth Edition). (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 2004). Rishworth, P. The New Zealand Bill of Rights. (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 2003).

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SYMBOLS Throughout this resource different symbols (or icons) are used to highlight the different types of activities. The meanings behind these symbols are shown below.

Lesson This course is divided into lessons based on similar topics. This symbol appears at the start of each lesson.

Information Specific information or interesting asides can be highlighted by using this icon.

Exercise This image is of a person exercising. Becoming expert at something requires practice. This symbol is used in this course whenever there is an exercise that requires learners to practise their skills to develop knowledge for themselves.

Review This image is of a magnifying glass. Reviewing the learning process helps reinforce the lessons learnt along the way. There is a review section at the end of each course, and at the end of a particularly long lesson.

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Lesson 1 Legal Duties and Rights between the State and the Individual Learning Objective On completion of this unit (LG301 and LG302), learners are able to describe the legal duties and rights between the State and the individual by: • • • •

describing the rights accorded to the individual by New Zealand Law (LG301). outlining the contribution of international agreements to the New Zealand legal system in terms of individual rights (LG301). describing legal duties that are owed by the individual to the State. identifying examples of conflict between legal duties owed to the State and individual belief systems (LG301).

In this unit of study, we will look at the legal relationship between the State and individual citizens. The State is a very powerful entity. It creates and enforces laws, makes important governmental decisions and generally directs the way in which citizens must act. There are a number of important checks and balances on this power, which ensure that the State fulfils its governing role without abusing its power or breaching individual rights. There are complex constitutional conventions, covenants and laws which control the power of the State. Some of these have developed over hundreds of years. Without these constraints on State power, individual citizens would have little protection from the State.

Exercise 1A

List some examples of dictatorships internationally, where citizens’ rights are not protected from the power of the State.

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6 We often take our freedom as citizens for granted as we have come to expect certain rights and protections from the State. However, in some nations of the world, citizens risk imprisonment, torture or even death if they speak out against their government. In New Zealand we are very fortunate to live in a democracy with all the various constitutional protections and constraints that go along with a democratic system of government.

There are a large number of independent bodies that act as avenues of complaint for citizens who believe they have been wronged by the State. We will look at some of these avenues of complaint later on.

Let’s begin by examining some of the legal duties and rights between the State and individual citizens.

Exercise 1B 1. Write down three rights of individual citizens that are protected by New Zealand law. •

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7 2. Write down some of the ways in which the State has an influence on your life, in terms of things you are required to do, are not allowed to do, etc.

The State

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Lesson 2 New Zealand Law and the Rights of the Individual In this lesson we will learn about some of the rights that are given to individuals under New Zealand law. There are a number of Acts which provide rights and protections to the individual. These Acts include the: • New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. • Human Rights Act 1993. • Official Information Act 1982. • Privacy Act 1993. Let’s look at these Acts in more detail now.

Individual Rights under New Zealand Law

Human Rights Act 1993

New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990

Purpose of Act

Rights Given to the Individual

An Act to: • affirm, protect, and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in New Zealand. •

affirm New Zealand's commitment to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

An Act to: • consolidate and amend previous Human Rights legislation in order to provide better protection of human rights in New Zealand in accordance with the United Nations Covenants/ Conventions on Human Rights.

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The Act confirms a number of fundamental civil and political rights including: • The right not to be deprived of life. • Electoral rights. • Freedom of peaceful assembly. • Freedom of expression. • Freedom of association. • Freedom of movement. • Right to justice.

• •

Freedom from discrimination by government, government employees or government bodies. Freedom from discrimination in employment matters. Freedom from discrimination in access to places, vehicles and facilities. Freedom from discrimination in the provision of goods and services.

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An Act to: • make official information more freely available. • provide proper access by each person to official information relating to that person. • protect official information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the preservation of personal privacy. • establish procedures for the achievement of the above purposes.

Official Information Act 1982

Rights Given to the Individual

An Act to: promote and protect individual privacy and to establish certain principles with respect to: • the collection, use, and disclosure (by public and private sector agencies), of information relating to individuals. • access by each individual to information relating to that individual and held by public and private sector agencies. • to provide for the appointment of a Privacy Commissioner to investigate complaints about interferences with individual privacy.

Privacy Act 1993

Purpose of Act

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• •

• •

The right to access certain official information. The right to access the reasons for decisions affecting a person. The right to access the internal rules of an organisation (eg, policies, principles, rules or guidelines) which affect decisions made about a person.

The right to have access to personal information. The right to request correction of personal information. The right to obtain confirmation about whether an organisation holds personal information about the person. The right to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner which an individual believes an action of an agency or organisation is an interference of their privacy.

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Exercise 2A

Match each of the following individual rights in New Zealand with the relevant act listed below. Individual rights: freedom from discrimination in the provision of goods and services, freedom of expression, the right to access certain official information, the right to request correction of personal information, right to justice. Acts: New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990

Human Rights Act 1993

Official Information Act 1982

Privacy Act 1993

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Lesson 3 International Agreements

New Zealand is a party to a number of international agreements. The agreements listed below each contribute to the New Zealand legal system in terms of individual rights.

United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights 1948

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1993

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1976

International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights 1976

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(First) Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1976

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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1993 contributes to the New Zealand legal system in terms of individual rights, as it aims to protect children’s rights. The Convention sets out the fundamental rights of children. It protects children’s rights by setting standards for governments to follow in terms of health care, civil rights, social rights, education and legal services. Here are some important articles in the Convention. Article 6: every child has the inherent right to life. Article 8: every child has the right to preserve his or her identity (including nationality, name and family relations), without unlawful interference. Article 3: the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

Exercise 3A 1. What is the purpose of the agreement?

2. List at least two individual rights that are provided for in the agreement.

3. Briefly describe the international agreement outlining its role in, and contribution to, the New Zealand legal system, in terms of individual rights.

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Lesson 4 Legal Duties Owed to the State by the Individual All individuals owe certain duties to the State. The Crimes Act 1961 contains a number of legal duties that individuals owe to the State. We will look briefly at three of these now.

Duty to provide the necessaries of life

(Sections 151 and

152) If a person is unable (because of detention, age, sickness or insanity) to provide themselves with the necessaries of life, the caregiver in charge of that person is under a legal duty to supply the necessaries of life. The duty to provide the necessaries of life extends to the parent or guardian of any child under the age of 16 years. The caregiver/parent/guardian is criminally responsible for failing to perform this duty if the death of that person/child is caused, their life is endangered or their health permanently injured.

Duty of persons doing dangerous acts (Section 155) Every person who administers surgical or medical treatment, or does any other legal act which may be dangerous to life, is under a legal duty to use reasonable knowledge, skill and care in doing that act. That person is also criminally responsible for the consequences of failing to carry out this legal duty.

Duty of persons in charge of dangerous things (Section 156) Every person who is in control, or in charge of dangerous things (whether moving or not), is under a legal duty to use reasonable care to avoid danger to other persons. The duty applies to those who set up, create, operate or maintain anything that might endanger human life. That person is criminally responsible for the consequences of failing to carry out this legal duty.

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14 In addition to these duties set out in the Crimes Act, there are a number of duties covered by other legislation. Let’s look at two of these now.

Duty not to discriminate against other persons Part 2 of the Human Rights Act 1993 sets out the duty of every individual not to discriminate against other persons. Section 21 stipulates the forms of discrimination that are prohibited by law. These include discrimination on the basis of: • •

• • • • • • •

Sex (including pregnancy and childbirth). Marital status (including being single, married, in a civil union or de facto relationship, the surviving partner of a relationship, a divorced/ separated person, etc). Religious or ethical belief. Colour, race, ethnicity or national origins. Disability. Age. Political opinion. Employment status. Family status (eg, having responsibility for care of children or other dependants, the type of relationship one is in, who one is related to, etc). Sexual orientation.

Duty to the community Under New Zealand law there are a number of duties individuals owe to the community in general. These range from the duties of persons called for jury duty to serve as jurors (under the Juries Act 1981), to being required to serve in the armed forces in the event of war. Can you think of examples of each of the legal duties listed above? Think of any events reported in the news which have resulted in prosecution of individuals as a result of a failure to discharge a legal duty.

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Conflict between Legal Duties and Individual Belief Systems Sometimes the legal duties owed to the State conflict with an individual’s own belief systems. Two examples of this conflict are described below. Example 1: Euthanasia Joan’s mother Mildred recently died of lung cancer. Joan had been nursing her mother throughout her illness. The hospital said there was nothing more they could do for Mildred as her cancer had spread. Mildred was in a lot of pain, and had great difficulty breathing. Joan watched her mother suffer for three months. Mildred asked Joan every day to “take away her pain”. Joan could not bear to watch her mother suffer any longer. She gave her mother several extra morphine pills to end her suffering. Joan’s mother passed away peacefully as a result of the morphine overdose. Legal Duty Joan had a duty under the Crimes Act to care for her mother and to administer her medication with reasonable knowledge, skill and care (Section 155). Furthermore, Section 158 of the Crimes Act defines homicide as “the killing of a human being by another, directly or indirectly, by any means whatsoever”. Joan took her mother’s life and has therefore committed a crime. However Joan does not feel this way. She does not believe that cancer patients should suffer through their illness. As a retired oncology nurse, she feels strongly that cancer sufferers have a right to die with dignity and without suffering. Joan’s individual beliefs conflict with her legal duties to the State.

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16 Example 2: Religious Belief A true case: A mother who followed a strict vegan diet for religious reasons had given birth to a baby boy. Due to her strict diet, she failed to provide the essential nutrients for her baby. The baby gradually became very ill. He was taken by his parents to hospital and was found to have a severe vitamin B12 deficiency. He was also suffering from brain damage and anaemia. His parents stated that they were following God’s plan which included herbal remedies, a strict vegan diet and no visits to the doctor. The parents were informed that their baby required urgent medical treatment, including an injection of vitamin B12. However, his parents refused the treatment as they believed that God would heal their baby. Their baby died a short time later. His life would almost certainly have been saved by a simple B12 injection. Legal Duty The parents had a duty to provide their baby with the necessaries of life under Section 152 of the Crimes Act. Their religious beliefs were in conflict with their legal duty as parents. The parents were found guilty under the Crimes Act for the death of the baby as a result of failing to provide the necessaries of life.

Exercise 4A Can you think of examples of each of the legal duties listed above? Describe any events reported in the news which have resulted in prosecution of individuals as a result of a failure to discharge a legal duty. Duty to provide the necessaries of life:

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Duty of persons doing dangerous acts:

Duty of persons in charge of dangerous things:

Duty not to discriminate against other persons:

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Lesson 5

Controls on the Exercise of State Power

In the following three lessons we will learn about the informal means by which individuals and groups may challenge State power. One of the most important characteristics of a democracy is that citizens of the country have the right to challenge the power of the State; indeed the supreme power belongs to the people, not to the State. This is in contrast to, for example, an autocracy or dictatorship where citizens are not allowed to question or challenge the power of the State or the ruler/leader of the State. In this lesson we look at some of the informal and formal ways in which individuals and groups are able to challenge the power held by the State. We will also look at the principle of the separation of powers and the effect this has on safeguarding individual rights. We begin by looking at the informal and formal means by which State power may be challenged by individuals or groups.

Informal Means by which Individuals and Groups Challenge State Power There are a number of informal means by which individuals and groups are able to challenge State power in terms of process. We will examine some of these and evaluate each in terms of their strengths and weaknesses in resolving issues. Informal means for challenging State power include: • • • •

the media contacting member(s) of Parliament interest and/or pressure groups protests.

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The Media The media is a channel through which citizens connect to the power of the State. You may have noticed that politicians have a ‘symbiotic’ relationship with the media. The media may be seen as a nuisance, but they are an essential part of the State mechanism. Members of the public are able to question and oppose government decisions through the media. The media is a very public forum. Thousands of people watch television every night to find out about the affairs of government. Such scrutiny acts as an important form of constraint upon government decisions.1

Exercise 5A 1. Write down some of the different forms of media that report on the affairs of the State. • • • • • •

Parliamentary Press Gallery The Parliamentary Press Gallery is at the heart of political reporting in New Zealand. It is a media forum devoted entirely to politics. You will often see the Prime Minister on the television news facing a barrage of questions from journalists in the Press Gallery. According to Palmer and Palmer2, some of the main functions of the Parliamentary Press Gallery include: • analysing political issues • preparing background reports on political issues • preparing summaries of legislation introduced into Parliament • interviewing Ministers • reporting on the decisions of select committees • reporting on events and decisions in Parliament.

1

2

Palmer, G. & Palmer, M. p 237 Palmer, G & Palmer, M. p 239-240

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20 Other important forms of media include television (eg news, documentaries and live interviews), the radio, newspapers, magazines, and the internet. There is even an entire channel devoted to showing the discussions that take place in Parliament (Parliament TV on SKY Channel and Freeview). There are many ways in which individuals and groups can use these mediums to challenge or question the power of the State. For example, political issues can be debated on programmes such as ‘Close Up’ and ‘Campbell Live’. In addition, documentaries often bring to light issues of injustice or abuse of power by the State. However, one of the most difficult issues surrounding the media is the extent to which citizens can trust the media as an information source. How reliable is the media? Can we trust what we read, watch and listen to? There are certain legal restraints on the way the media operates, including an obligation on the media to report on events in a truthful manner. However, fact and comment are often so intertwined in reporting that the material becomes slanted and selected3. This may sometimes occur without the knowledge of the person receiving the information. In many respects the receiver must filter opinion from the facts and come to their own conclusions about the truth as portrayed by the media.

Exercise 5B 1. How can you be sure that the information you receive from the media is reliable? Write down some of your ideas below. •

. •

3

Palmer, G. & Palmer, M. p 238

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21 2. Write down three ways in which an individual or group could use the media to challenge State power: • •

.

• •

3. Identify two possible disadvantages of using the media to challenge State power. •

. •

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Lesson 6

Contacting Members of Parliament

Parliament/Members of Parliament (MPs) are another informal means by which individuals and groups are able to challenge State power. MPs are seen by members of the public as community leaders who have an obligation to represent the interests of their local area. 4 MPs play an important role in addressing and balancing the power of the government. The local area of an MP is called their electorate and the residents who live within the electorate area are called constituents. (Not all MPs have electorates as some are ‘List MPs’, meaning they are chosen from a list compiled by their political party). Most MPs have weekly clinics at their electorate office. These clinics allow constituents to go and meet with their MP to discuss their concerns. In addition, constituents are also able to phone their MP to complain about certain laws or policies of government that they feel are unfair. MPs play an important role in sorting genuine concerns that require further action from trivial complaints which do not need to be taken any further. MPs deal with a variety of complaints from the public, such as housing problems, immigration issues, benefit issues and various legal difficulties. MPs may sometimes refer complaints to the Office of the Ombudsmen or other appropriate agencies. A brief summary is provided below which shows some of the actions MPs can take to assist individuals who have complaints relating to government or government bodies.5 Parliament/Members of Parliament can: • meet directly with government officials or Ministers to resolve issues in relation to actions of government departments or other government bodies • send correspondence to government officials or Ministers to request assistance or information. • provide information to constituents about matters of government • investigate a complaint relating to an abuse of power by the State • refer constituents to the other agencies/organisations who can resolve their problems. Although they have a very high workload, and may take time to act, MPs are an effective avenue by which to challenge State power.

4 5

Palmer, G & Palmer M. p 138 Palmer, G. & Palmer M. p 143-144

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Exercise 6A Write down the name of your local MP, their electorate (if they have one) and their political affiliation. Name of MP: Electorate: Political Party:

Interest and Pressure Groups Another informal means by which individuals or groups challenge State power is through interest and/or pressure groups. These are groups that exert pressure on the government in order to influence government policy in a manner that will be beneficial to their own cause. The term used in political circles is to ‘lobby’ the government, which means ‘to seek to influence’. Pressure groups use a variety of means to lobby the government.

Exercise 6B List some of the interest/pressure groups in New Zealand that you know of. • • • • • • • •

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Ways that pressure/interest groups can lobby Parliament • • • • • • • •

Setting out arguments as to why policies should or should not be adopted. Letters to the Editor of newspapers and magazines. Campaigning through the media (or threatening to). Writing to Ministers, MPs and other government officials. Making submissions to caucus. Taking part in protest action. Making submissions to select committees to try to influence or alter Bills. Giving financial support to political campaigns which support their cause.6

Exercise 6C 1. Identify one interest/pressure group in New Zealand and answer certain questions relating to that group. You will need to search for a pressure group either on the internet, in newspapers, at your local library or through your local Citizens Advice Bureau. What is the name of the interest/pressure group?

What is the main focus of the group?

Is the group political and if so, what is their political affiliation?

6

Palmer, G. & Palmer, M. p 241-242

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How does the interest/pressure group get its message across to the public?

2. What are some of the disadvantages of pressure/interest groups as a means of challenging State power?

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Lesson 7

Protests

Another informal means by which individuals and groups may challenge State power is through protest action. There are many different forms of protest. Some of these include the following. • Protest marches. • Pamphlets dropping. • Placing posters in public places. • Hunger strikes. • Work strikes. • Occupations (occupying land or buildings). • Direct action eg Greenpeace’s tactics with whaling ships. • Protest through the media by making a public statement, writing a book or making a documentary that exposes certain issues to the public.

Exercise 7A Write down some of the protest action that you have seen in the media over the past year or so, within New Zealand.

Throughout the centuries citizens have grouped together to express opinions vocally about certain issues. Some activists have been successful in changing government policy. For example, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Ghandi were all successful in bringing about change. A protest is a very public way of making a statement about something.

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People protest when they feel very strongly about an issue. For example, millions of people around the world protested about the United States’ invasion of Iraq. People feel that by openly expressing their views about such issues they might be able to persuade governments to alter their course of action. One of the new tools of protestors is the internet. The internet goes into the homes of millions of people around the world. For activists who wish to promote their cause, it is a very cost-effective medium for protest. It is possible to search the internet and find numerous political and nonpolitical causes (eg www.protest.net). Protesting can be a very effective means of challenging State power but it is usually only effective when a large number of people feel strongly about an issue. A single voice is unlikely to change government policy. There are certain advantages and disadvantages in using protest action to challenge the power of the State.

Exercise 7B

Write down some of the advantages and disadvantages of using protest action to challenge State power. Advantages

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Exercise 7C Here is a quick quiz to test your knowledge of some of the material we have covered so far. Read each statement carefully and write whether it is true or false (T or F).

Statements

T/F

The Official Information Act 1982 allows individuals to access certain official information. Citizens have no right to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner. Pressure groups exert pressure on the government in order to influence government policy in a manner that will be beneficial to their own cause. A parent or guardian does not have a legal duty to provide necessaries of life for a child under 16 years of age. One of the legal duties of citizens is to provide the necessaries of life.

Reference List Dorset, S. Butterworth’s Student Companions: Public Law. (Wellington: Butterworths, 2006). Longworth, E. & McBride, T. The Privacy Act: A Guide. (Wellington: GP Publications, 1994). Palmer, G & Palmer, M. Bridled Power: New Zealand’s Constitution and Government (Fourth Edition). (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 2004)

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Answers Exercise 1A

Myanmar (Burma) - military dictatorship. Libya – military dictatorship. Cuba – totalitarian communist state.

Exercise 1B 1

• The right to justice in the courts. • The right to refuse medical treatment. • The right to the protection of personal information collected and stored by public and private organisations. 2

Answers could include: paying tax; being required to attend school; laws which affect drivers, pedestrians and cyclists; skate boarding by-laws; censorship laws which affect the videos, films and television programmes we watch; laws which limit the age of drinking and the public places in which people can drink; custody and access laws; protection of individual rights; smoking laws, etc. Exercise 2A

New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990: freedom of expression, right to justice Human Rights Act 1993: freedom from discrimination in the provision of goods and services Official Information Act 1982: right to access certain official information Privacy Act 1993: the right to request correction of personal information

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30 Exercise 3A 1. The purpose of the agreement

To protect children’s rights. The Convention sets out the fundamental rights of children. It protects children's rights by setting standards for governments to follow in terms of health care, civil rights, social rights, education and legal services. 2. Two individual rights that are provided for in the agreement.

Article 6: Every child has the inherent right to life. Article 8: The right of the child to preserve his or her identity (including nationality, name and family relations), without unlawful interference. 3. Briefly describe the international agreement outlining its role in, and contribution to, the New Zealand legal system in terms of individual rights.

Article 3 of the Convention states that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. This principle is the foundation of family law in New Zealand and is affirmed in the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989 (and subsequent amendments), the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and various other pieces of legislation which affect the rights of the child.

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31 Exercise 4A Duty to provide the necessaries of life: In 2007, Maine Ngati and

her partner were found guilty of (amongst other things) failure to provide the necessaries of life for her 3-year-old son who had life-threatening wounds/injuries for which they did not seek medical attention. Duty of persons doing dangerous acts: Not only do medical

practitioners perform ‘dangerous acts’. Persons organising sporting events or ‘education outside the classroom’ activities which could be considered dangerous (eg swimming), also have a duty under s155 of the Crimes Act. Duty of persons in charge of dangerous things: In the case Police v

Tolhurst, a farmer was convicted under s156 of the Crimes Act because his horse, which habitually jumped a faulty fence, collided with a car one night, resulting in the death of a passenger in the car. Duty not to discriminate against other persons: The duty not to

discriminate against other persons extends to employers who are not allowed to, for example, advertise any position in such a way that it appears to, or does, discriminate against certain persons. They are also not allowed to ask certain questions or ask for certain information which could be used to discriminate against the applicant (eg age, ethnicity, sex, marital status, etc).

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32 Exercise 5A • • • • • •

Parliamentary Press Gallery. Radio Talkback (interviews, news). Newspapers. Informative Magazines (Metro, Listener, North and South). Television (news, documentaries, interviews). Internet (news, discussion papers, articles, etc).

Exercise 5B 1 • •

• •

Go to the original source where possible (original research, reports or legislation). Investigate issues further. Use the internet, the library and other sources of information to find out more about the issue. Be wary of obvious bias/slant. Look for other points of view. Look for facts rather than comment or opinion.

2 Three ways in which an individual or group could use the media to challenge State power: • • • •

Television interview – taking the issue to television. Writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine. Ringing up a Talkback show to raise an issue. Creating a documentary about an issue (for example the 2005 documentary by Bryan Bruce about the David Bain case).

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33 3 Two possible disadvantages of using the media to challenge State power. • •

Media is a public forum, therefore there is the risk of the loss of privacy for those who go to the media with their stories. The programmers at the televisions stations/networks and the editors of newspapers/magazines, etc decide what is considered ‘newsworthy’. They may not consider your issue to be worthy of being broadcast/published, etc.

Exercise 6A An example is: Name of MP: John Hayes Electorate: Wairarapa Political Party: National Party Exercise 6B Examples are:

Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ (PEPANZ.) • Grey Power. • Federated Farmers. • Young Nationals. • New Zealand Business Roundtable. • National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. • Business NZ. • Greenpeace. •

Exercise 6C Here are some answers for one pressure group – Grey Power. 1 The name of the interest/pressure group

Grey Power. The main focus of the group

Grey Power is a Lobby Organisation promoting the welfare and well-being of all New Zealanders in the 50 plus age group.

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34

Political or not Grey Power does not have affiliation to any political group. Getting its message across to the public

Grey Power encourages members and representatives to: • be strong and active, but not militant, in promoting the welfare and well-being of persons over 50 years of age. • write to their MP, government and local papers about concerns of the 50 plus age group. • go to Wellington to meet with politicians who have the power to affect the living standards of people in the 50-plus age group. • write regular press releases.

2 Some of the disadvantages of pressure/interest groups as a means of challenging State power

It can be difficult to get enough people involved in such groups because it takes a lot of time and energy to actively participate in such a group. • If there are not enough people involved in the group, their cause may go unnoticed by those who can do something to resolve the issues. • If the group is not properly organised, it can fail to achieve its objectives. This takes time, money, etc, which is not always easy to come by. •

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35 Exercise 7A Examples are: • • • •

Tibet protests outside the Chinese Embassies in New Zealand (March 2008). 4000 truckers protested against government’s plan to increase road use charges (July 2008). Student protests against student fees and debt (July 2008). Asian Anti-Crime group protest against violence against Asians (in Auckland – July 2008).

Exercise 7B Advantages

Open to public view.

Disadvantages

Protestors may be arrested and/or fined.

An opportunity to change laws. Protestors are sometimes injured. A good way to get media attention.

Protestors are sometimes treated badly by other members of the public.

A chance to gain public sympathy and to attract new members to your cause.

The public may have an adverse reaction to the protest, which could reduce their sympathy to the cause.

A good opportunity to explain to other people about your cause.

Protestors are sometimes seen as troublemakers.

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36 Exercise 7C Statements

T/F

The Official Information Act 1982 allows individuals to access certain official information.

T

Citizens have no right to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner.

F

Pressure groups exert pressure on the government in order to influence government policy in a manner that will be beneficial to their own cause.

T

Ultra vires means ‘beyond one’s power/authority’.

T

A parent or guardian does not have a legal duty to provide necessaries of life for a child under 16 years of age.

F

One of the legal duties of citizens is to provide the necessaries of life.

T

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