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Privy Council Users Want to Retain Access

Research Shows Privy Council Users Want to Retain Access

Research by the New Zealand Business Roundtable shows the vast majority of representative organisations affected by plans to end access to the Privy Council oppose the move, executive director Roger Kerr said today.

"Besides the Crown, business is by far the major user of the Privy Council. Maori organisations are the next most significant users," Mr Kerr said.

"NZBR analysis of submissions to parliament's Justice and Electoral Committee on the Supreme Court Bill shows that neither business nor Maori groups want to lose access to this high quality, independent and internationally respected court.

The Committee is to report back to Parliament on the Bill at 1pm tomorrow.

"Every single submission by a representative business organisation and individual company argued that links with the Privy Council must be maintained. A substantial majority of the representative Maori organisations that made submissions took the same stance, as did the majority of groups representing legal practitioners. Local government was of the same view.

"Among the few organisations that made supportive submissions were unions and free law centres. The balance of submissions was from individuals.

"When by far the majority of representative Maori organisations and every representative business group join together to tell government it has a bad idea, this should be a powerful message. Together, these groups have an extremely significant constituency.

"While it is commendable that Maori were specifically consulted over this legislation, it is regrettable that the government chose not to consult business - the most significant users of the Privy Council.

"The analysis of these submissions adds weight to the call for a public referendum before making such a serious constitutional move," Mr Kerr said.

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