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Lord Cooke is wrong

Lord Cooke is wrong

"Lord Cooke is wrong. The last thing New Zealand needs is a Supreme Court with a licence to regard the Treaty of Waitangi as a living document, creating special rights for Maori that no one else has," according to National Party Leader Bill English.

Mr English is responding to Lord Cooke's support at select committee for the proposed Supreme Court. Lord Cooke delivered the landmark judgment that defined the Treaty of Waitangi as a partnership.

"New Zealand is in the throes of a debate about what the Treaty means.

"Labour says it means special rights for Maori, while National says it establishes one standard of citizenship for all.

"There is no common understanding about what the "principles" of the Treaty are or what "partnership" means," says Mr English.

"Earlier this week Labour appointee, Law Commissioner Ngatata Love, said that the new Supreme Court would set a precedent strengthening Maori rights in other courts and giving greater recognition of the Treaty and tikanga issues.

"Lord Cooke says it is time for New Zealand to take charge of its judicial destiny.

"But I say New Zealanders must be given the chance to have the debate before the Treaty is made a foundation of the highest Law Court and handed over to Judges to interpret," Mr English says.

"National rejects any proposals which could see separate and extraordinary rights for Maori created as part of supreme law.

"Lord Cooke also rejects a referendum on the establishment of a Supreme Court. He reflects Margaret Wilson's view that the people cannot be trusted with questions about what it is to be a New Zealander and it must be sorted out by Judges.

"That's wrong, the people have to be trusted on these matters.

"We are a democracy after all," Mr English says

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