Parliament

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.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On NZ’s Complicity In Western Sahara

If David Parker really wants to hone his crisis-managing chops on an international trade dispute that New Zealand has been making worse for years, he maybe should be turning his attention to the Western Sahara.

Some background: two NZ companies called Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients appear to be the only independent firms in the world still willing to import phosphate from the disputed territory of the Western Sahara... More>>

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Malaysia Exposing Our Dodgy Policies On China

Last week, we all owed a vote of thanks to Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad for breaking with protocol during his bilateral with Jacinda Ardern. Reportedly, Mahathir used the photo opportunity phase of the meeting to launch into matters of genuine substance. More>>

ALSO:

Withdrawls After Police Uniform Ban: Auckland Pride Remains Committed

The Auckland Pride Board remains committed to creating a space for our rainbow communities to feel safe celebrating their gender and sexual identity, despite some institutions pulling out from the Parade in recent days. More>>

ALSO:

South Korea: State Visit By Korean President Moon Jae-In

The President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in will visit New Zealand from 2 to 4 December... “I am very much looking forward to welcoming President Moon to New Zealand,” said Jacinda Ardern. More>>

Health: Changes To Drinking Water Standards

David Clark said many of the changes he is making, which will take effect on 1 March 2019, are clarifications or corrections, “but there are two changes which will significantly improve the ability to test and respond to the presence of harmful bacteria such as E.coli”. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Detention "Unlawful But Reasonable"

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that while Police acted unlawfully in October 2017 when they detained a Queenstown man for a mental health assessment, their actions were reasonable in the circumstances. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Chile President's NZ Visit

At the invitation of the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, undertook a State Visit to New Zealand on 19 November 2018... More>>

ALSO:

Climate Change: Top Academics Call On Government To Take Action

One hundred and fifty academics and researchers from around Aotearoa, including Dame Anne Salmond, Emeriti Professors and several Fellows of the Royal Society, have signed a strongly-worded open letter to the Government demanding bold and urgent action to tackle climate change. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels