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Inclusion of Property Rights in Bill of Rights Act

Inclusion of Property Rights in Bill of Rights Act Supported

The Business Roundtable told the Justice and Electoral Select Committee today that it supported MP Gordon Copeland’s bill incorporating private property rights in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (copy of submission attached).

Executive director Roger Kerr said that secure property rights were vital for investment and economic growth, personal freedoms and environmental protection, among other things.

“Too often New Zealand governments have trampled over legitimately held property rights without compensation. Recent examples include the Bradford electricity reforms, Timberlands, the foreshore and seabed legislation and telecommunications unbundling”, he said.

“Constitutional-type protections of property rights in other jurisdictions are commonplace, and are part of the Legislation Advisory Committee’s guidelines. Incorporating them in statute would not be breaking new legal ground.”

Mr Kerr said that the present wording of the bill could be improved to require due process to be followed in any taking of property, to limit takings to an essential public purpose, and to make it clear that compensation should apply to any private interests in property rights, including customary rights.

The alternative wording it had suggested to the Committee was:

“The Crown shall not deprive anyone of their legal rights in property, except for an essential public purpose and only through due process of law and in accordance with the principle of just compensation.”

12 October 2006


See... NZBR Submission on NZ Bill of Rights Act

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