Labour Has No Mandate For 'Supreme' Court: Peters
15 April 2002
“Replacement of the London-based Privy Council with a New Zealand ‘supreme’ court is a very significant constitutional matter that should not be decided by a minority government, but by the people of New Zealand, after a full and well informed debate followed by a referendum,” says New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters.
“For the Attorney-General to ram this through Parliament when she has no mandate is to fly in the face of sound law-making and wise constitutional structures. The Privy Council does not cost the New Zealand taxpayer one cent, yet gives us international expertise and international respect as high as any court in the world.
“New Zealand’s pool of judges may have the talent but it is far too closely connected with both legal events and with too many in New Zealand’s small population. It is highly likely that any Judge in the new ‘supreme’ court will have been involved in some part of the case at an earlier stage before it reaches that court. That likelihood is simply untenable.
“Moreover the Government’s Maori members in both Labour and the Alliance were implacably opposed to such a move. We must be suspicious about what has caused their change of heart………..or is this another case of these members being lions in the electorate and lambs in the caucus? This unmandated proposal should give New Zealanders real cause for concern,” Mr. Peters said.