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


NZ Lose Access to Neutral Legal Umpires

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks says the move by the Government for New Zealand to sever links with the Privy Council means we will lose a unique competitive advantage for a small remote country - access to neutral international referees to uphold impartial justice.

"Margaret Wilson has claimed it would be a sign of this country's 'maturity' to abolish the right of appeal to the Privy Council. But the maturity argument seems the preoccupation of people worried about post-colonialism and sovereignty. Most of us would rather look at the quality, independence, and low cost of access to the world's best umpires. Worries about colonial cringe are for those who still feel subordinate.

"The real risks to independence and sovereignty stem from Ms Wilson's continuation of recent politically correct policies to subject New Zealand law, New Zealand courts, and ordinary New Zealanders, to the jurisdiction and politically-calculated decisions of unelected United Nations committees, often comprising people who don't have any respect for our rule of law tradition.

"People with constitutional concerns will now worry about Margaret Wilson getting an opportunity to stack a new court with politically-correct representatives of favoured activist groups. The unhappy appointments of Ms Bathgate and Ms Henry do not offer us any reassurance.

"This Government move can be seen as a symbolic act rather than dealing with the type of real issue that worries productive New Zealanders: enforcement of the laws we already have, and reform of obstructive legal processes like the RMA.

"This need not be a foregone conclusion. I doubt Cabinet would stand fully behind Ms Wilson if it became clear the country said: `Don't do it'. I consulted widely with ACT members and interested parties both in person and through the ACT website. Most of the people I have contacted are opposed to us cutting off our access to Privy Council standards of judging and independence.

"We should judge courts on the quality of their judgements and their impartiality. The arguments for the Privy Council are like the arguments for having international sports referees as umpires. They do not end all arguments about bias, or lack of local knowledge, but they do make it easier to get that most vital thing - justice that is impartial," Stephen Franks said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news