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National welcomes Privy Council discussion

Tony Ryall National Justice Spokesman

Tuesday 19 December 2000

National welcomes Privy Council discussion

Margaret Wilson's discussion document which proposes ending links with the Privy Council is a recycled idea originally voted down by Labour, National's Justice spokesman Tony Ryall said today.

"After extensive judicial, legal and public discussion National sought to abolish appeals to the Privy Council in the 1996 New Zealand Courts Structure Bill. Sadly the legislation was blocked by the Labour Opposition who stonewalled the then Minority Government's plans.

"We think today's discussion paper reflects a more considered view than that expressed by Labour in 1996.

"New Zealanders should feel sufficiently confident to remove appeals to the Privy Council. Almost all New Zealand cases are dealt with here; only an exceptional few are considered offshore.

"We should feel confident in our own abilities to administer justice fairly for all New Zealanders.

"What would concern many New Zealanders is if the higher courts displayed a level of judicial activism out of touch with the mainstream. Confidence in our senior judiciary depends on a conservative approach to contemporary issues. I suspect a more activist Court of Appeal would see thoughtful questioning of the Government's proposals.

"National believes many people will want to see two levels of appeal, and we look forward to the ensuing discussion," Mr Ryall said.

Ends

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