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Proposed Referendum On Privy Council

Proposed Referendum On Privy Council

A cross-party meeting was held today to discuss the proposed referendum on the Government’s plan to abolish the Privy Council.

In attendance were: Rt Hon Winston Peters (NZ First), Richard Worth MP (National) and Stephen Franks MP (Act).

In a joint statement, the MPs said they welcomed the views of all parties joining the campaign for a referendum so all opinions could be expressed on the retention of the right of appeal to the Privy Council.

The meeting’s agenda involved:

Cross party position on the retention of the Privy Council as New Zealand’s final court of appeal.

Consideration of approach to achieve a Citizens Initiated Referendum on the question of 1 above.

The wording of the referendum question.

Petition logistics.

It was decided that if the Government decided to push the legislation abolishing the Privy Council through the House quickly, the three parties would seek to amend the legislation as follows:

Commencement: Except as provided in subsection (2), this Act comes into force after – the Chief Electoral Officer has declared the final result of the referendum to be held before or no later than the nearest general election which asks the question: “Should our longstanding right of final appeal to the Privy Council in London be abolished?”, and a 66 percent majority of those voting in the referendum answers “Yes” to the question.

Subsection (1) comes into force on the day after the date on which this Act receives the Royal assent.

In the event that there was time available for a referendum to be considered, then every effort would be taken to support the Citizens Initiated Referendum under the Citizens Initiated Referendum Act 1993.

The three MPs said they shared a common concern that a longstanding constitutional issue was being changed by a minority government without proper consultation.

They were pleased to cooperate in a way that would help give New Zealanders a chance to have a say on an extraordinarily important constitutional question.

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