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New Zealand pays nothing for a final appeal court

Attorney-General Margaret Wilson today gave away the only rational argument Privy Court abolitionists have been using when she acknowledged that New Zealand presently pays nothing for a final appeal court, and gave estimates of $10 million in set-up costs and $5.2 million per year in running costs for a local court to try to do the same job, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Abolitionists have claimed that it costs New Zealanders too much to have to have appeals heard in London.

"The truth is that Privy Council processes are so disciplined and decisions reached so crisply and quickly, that even to the parties they can cost less than dragged-out local trials. New Zealanders have been paying nothing for the privilege of access to some of the world's leading judges.

"Ms Wilson also conceded today that the local court was expected to be busier, with more appeals meaning more people embroiled in the costs of appeal litigation.

"My major concern about the abolition plan is that it makes it worthwhile for Ms Wilson and her victim ideology colleagues to stack a local court to get decisions they want. That has been the experience in Australia where 17 of the first 33 judges of the High Court of Australia were politicians appointed by the Australian cabinet. For a little hothouse country like New Zealand the assured independence of having an international referee is priceless even if local judges could do just as good a job technically.

"Today's revelations of cost show that the drive to cut us off from Privy Council appeals is just an attempt to tap into nationalist dogma," Stephen Franks said.

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