Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Abandoning the Privy Council?


David Miller Online

A Point of View. Abandoning the Privy Council?

If I were a republican I would not be impressed with the Government’s latest effort to severe New Zealand’s ties with the monarchy. One would think that retaining the monarchy as Head of State in the Twenty First Century is both outmoded and outdated however whether New Zealanders are willing to take that final step towards adopting a constitutional change is another matter. It is not surprising that there has been a cool response to Margaret Wilson’s latest initiative to abandon the Privy Council as this country’s final court of appeal. This coolness is not because New Zealanders feel a great affinity towards the royal system or the Royal Family but rather that they are afraid of the politicians at home.

The Government’s decision to abandon the Privy Council simply through a majority in Parliament is not the correct process in determining this issue. Rather than allow the public the opportunity to debate the merits of the argument regarding the Privy Council and the Monarchy through a referendum, the Government is allowing the issue to become overshadowed by the charge that it is attempting constitutional change by stealth and that it is masking the implications of such a monumental change for the judicial process in this country. Not only does this action appear as though it is excluding the wider New Zealand electorate it is also exposing the Government to the accusations that a New Zealand Supreme Court will be exposed to political interference and that the independent nature of the judiciary could be lost forever.

The independence of the judicial system is a fundamental element of the democratic Westminster system. The courts in this country and in London provide the individual with the means of challenging Government legislation and protecting themselves against political abuses of power. The Privy Council may be a hangover from our colonial past but it is also a body that it is strictly impartial due its remoteness from events and influences in New Zealand and this is a point that those seeking to abolish or link to the Council will have to overcome. Putting the debate over whether New Zealand should be linked to Britain in this manner aside, what is most damaging for the Republican cause is Ms. Wilson’s actions. This case must be put to a referendum that allows the public to decide the future of this country and not placed solely in the hands of those in Parliament. To claim that Parliament and the Executive are the only forums capable of deciding this matter is as arrogant as it is offensive and it makes a mockery of the democratic process the people of this country hold so dear. I have argued in the past that the republican cause faces an uphill battle to convince the New Zealand public of their cause due to the apprehension over a President or a Supreme Council appointed by the Prime Minister or parliament. Politicians in this country are not held in the highest of regard and the notion of political bias is sure to taint, even scuttle any argument for the creation of New Zealand based offices and institutions. The monarchy and the Privy Council are simply part of the constitutional mechanism of this country and that is the limit of its influence in people’s lives and they are bodies that are seen to be above the politics here. For many it is simply an arrangement of convenience with few favourable alternatives, and this is what the republican side must overcome to alter people’s perspective and if it is to force change. Unfortunately the actions of Margaret Wilson and the Government in not allowing a referendum are doing severe damage to that cause. A public vote would give both sides a clear and legitimate mandate should they be victorious.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news