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Government Gives Lawyers Another Pay Day

Government Gives Lawyers Another Pay Day

Monday 27th Nov 2000 Stephen Franks Media Release -- Justice

Today’s extension of the deadline for submissions on the Government’s Human Rights discussion paper by Associate Minister of Justice, Margaret Wilson confirms big plans to change New Zealand’s culture, said ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

“Margaret Wilson wants ‘a new human rights institution which would focus on community leadership and education work’. What we will get are more little commissars, making sure the rest of us toe the politically correct line.”

Public interest in the discussion paper was concentrated on the proposed swallowing of the independent Race Relations Conciliator into a bigger Human Rights Commission. But the discussion paper had other curious aspects.

“I asked the Human Rights Commission about them during Select Committee hearings three weeks ago. Under questioning the Commissioners explained they plan to concentrate on “systemic human rights abuses”, and gave poverty as an example.

“We need a rights based approach to policy” they informed us, “to satisfy obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

“Government members of the Committee seemed satisfied. Their attitude seemed to be ‘Of course – laws against poverty – great idea, why didn’t we think of that before’. “They seemed not to realise that the Commission was telling them about radical constitutional change.

“Because rights based welfare, treating poverty as a breach of human rights, is a power grab by the anointed. Judges, commissioners and lawyers get to make the decisions the activists can’t get from elected representatives. The disastrous school bussing policy in the US came from a broad “rights leadership” role for the Courts.

“If it is against the law to leave someone poor, then someone else can be ordered to give the poor money or resources. Rights create duties, and duties on the state create tax transfers. Being “at risk” of poverty then becomes a more secure career choice.

“Rights based welfare could in the longer term blow budgets apart and sink all hope of surpluses to put into Michael Cullen’s superannuation fund. The Human Rights Commission is not covert about its ambitions. It’s Annual Report says its Act should “enjoy primacy over other legislation (except where another Act explicitly provides otherwise)”.

“For the sake of our freedoms some ordinary New Zealanders must take this seriously enough to register objection” – concluded Stephen Franks.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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