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Critical Privy Council challenge to Government

Critical Privy Council challenge to Government

National's Justice spokesman, Richard Worth, says the Government will face a significant test in its determination to scrap the Privy Council.

"Parliament is being asked to refer the Supreme Court Bill to the Waitangi Tribunal for "examination and report'," says Mr Worth. "The procedure has never been used before, although the relevant statutory provision has been in place since 1975.

"The Government faces three choices:

* Allow the motion to lapse by denying Parliamentary time to debate the issue. Such a decision would attract substantial public criticism, particularly from Maori who have told the Select Committee that there has been no consultation and there is a clear breach of the Treaty of Waitangi

* Vote against the motion which will alienate the Labour Maori Caucus members from mainstream Maori.

* Support the motion.

"This is an opportunity for the Government to deliver on its claimed promise that it encourages open debate on significant constitutional issues, and to test Dr Cullen's assertion that Maori have greater rights under the Treaty of Waitangi than other New Zealanders," says Mr Worth.

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