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Goff Seeks To Rewrite Parliamentary Practice

7 July 2000


United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff is trying to rewrite New Zealand's constitution.

Mr Goff has told Mr Dunne in written answers to Parliamentary Questions regarding the recent Parliamentary vote to effectively recognise Taiwan that:

"The Executive in New Zealand is not bound by a resolution of Parliament on a foreign policy matter."

"This is Goff's Law on the doctrine of the Supremacy of Parliament: it only applies when Parliament's decisions are not embarrassing to the Government of the day."

"Put simply, Goff's Law states: 'if you don't like it, ignore it'."

"According to Goff's Law Parliament is merely a useful appendage - worth having on side when you need it (unanimous votes on East Timor involvement, for example), but otherwise to be ignored (especially when it passes embarrassing resolutions on hitherto too hard questions like Taiwan)," Mr Dunne says.

Mr Dunne says Goff's Law is entirely in keeping with the Labour/Alliance Government's mounting arrogance and contempt for Parliamentary practice.

"They no longer see Parliament as a House of Representatives where the views of the nation are represented and aired."

"Rather, they see Parliament as just one more hurdle to be overcome - or in the case of Goff's Law avoided - in the rush to implement their policies."

"On this basis, Mr Goff really has no right to protest about George Speight's abrogation of the Fijian Constitution - he is, after all, implementing the ultimate expression of Goff's Law."

"Maybe that is what has upset Mr Goff most!" Mr Dunne says.


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