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The National Business Review
April 24 2008

Crony Watch


Justice for all -

The government has appointed its Criminal Justice Advisory Board. The board has been set up to help restore public confidence in the criminal justice system. "The appointees are all highly respected people who reflect the diversity of the community," said the press release from Justice Minister Annette King, "and who will bring a range of skills and perspectives to the board."

Perks for some

One notable member is Val Sim. Ms Sim is a friend to Crony Watch - he noted she was appointed as a law commissioner mere weeks after rubberstamping the government's draconian Electoral Finance Bill as not breaching the right to freedom of expression.

A committee possessed

She is experienced in criminal law matters, having previously been a chief legal counsel for the Ministry of Justice. In this role, she helped build public confidence in the criminal justice system by standing firm in her opinion (to the minister of justice) that the widely mistrusted conviction of Peter Ellis on child molestation charges should not be reviewed by an inquiry, nor a pardon granted.

Diplomatic protection

Joining Ms Sim on the advisory board is Lynette Stewart. Ms Stewart is the chief executive officer of the Te Tai Tokerau MAPO Trust. Crony Watch also notes she has been sister to foreign affairs minister Winston Peters since her own inception. cronywatch@nbr.co.nz