Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Wilson neglecting gatekeeper duties

The Attorney-General is failing in her duty to uphold respect for the law, according to ACT’s Justice Spokesman, Stephen Franks.

Mr Franks said today he was becoming increasingly concerned that the Attorney-General was not fulfilling the historic dual role of Cabinet Minister and guardian, within the Government, of the rule of law.

“Traditionally this guardianship involves defending the judges from unfair political criticism and ensuring that Ministers do not overstep the bounds for cheap political gain.

“The Prime Minister claimed last week that poor police attitudes to Maori had a bearing on the Waitara shooting. This can only be an accusation of police racism. If true, the police are in breach of Sections 21 and 65 of the Human Rights Act. The claim inflamed people all over the country. Instead of taking the heat out of the aftermath, she has sabotaged the healing potential of both the Police Complaints Authority, and the extra inquiries she promised after criticism of her first statement.

“By her statement, Ms Clark placed her anti-police prejudices (and need for headlines) above leadership. But more serious is her contempt for calm, objective investigation, values that sustain the rule of law.

“Where was the Attorney General, Margaret Wilson last Thursday evening, when it was left to Police Minister George Hawkins to warn his leader that conclusions are better expressed after the facts are tested, and after both sides have been heard?

“The Race Relations Act (now in the Human Rights Act) was intended to prohibit unsubstantiated public discussion that could ignite racial division. The drafters of the law knew of the risks to free speech, but thought the risks of racial division were a worse evil.

“That law gives the Prime Minister and the Attorney General gatekeeper powers. For example no prosecution for inciting racial disharmony can go ahead without the consent of the Attorney General.

Stephen Franks said there had also been questions in legal circles about the Attorney General, Margaret Wilson’s failure to produce a statement under section 7 of the Bill of Rights in relation to the conflicts with freedom of speech in the Employment Relations Bill. “Her position as Minister of Labour seems to have taken priority.”

“It seems that an early, unannounced change to our constitution may be that the Attorney General in New Zealand is not independent when it comes to defending the rule of law. If so, there are gaps in the protections we thought we had,” said Stephen Franks.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Tax Working Group’s Road Map

Trying to analyse the interim report on the Tax Working Group (TWG) is like trying to review an entire All Blacks game, but at the half- time mark.

With so much still to be finalised, Sir Michael Cullen and his colleagues are going to need all the All Blacks’ fabled finishing skills to get a coherent, fiscally neutral package together by the February 2019 deadline. More>>


Meth Testing Report: Housing NZ "To Right Wrong"

Phil Twyford “Housing NZ acknowledges that around 800 tenants suffered by either losing their tenancies, losing their possessions, being suspended from the public housing waiting list, negative effects on their credit ratings or, in the worst cases, being made homeless.” More>>


No Reshuffle: Meka Whaitiri Removed As A Minister

Meka Whaitiri will be removed as a Minister with immediate effect... The decision was made after receiving a report into an incident that occurred on 27 August in Gisborne, involving Meka Whaitiri and one of her staff. More>>


Pay Equity Bill: Making History For Women’s Pay

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill, introduced to the House today, will make it easier for workers to make a pay equity claim , using a more simple and accessible process within New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework. More>>


Suffrage 125: NZ A Trailblazer For Women

“We acknowledge the work of Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, and all of the suffragists who tirelessly campaigned for the vote… Today we also need to ask each other: how we can continue to make our country a fairer and better place to continue the legacy of the suffragists.” More>>


Asylum: Refugee Quota Increasing To 1500

“The quota increase will take place from July 2020. In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services. We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.” More>>





InfoPages News Channels