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United Welcomes Judicial Appointments Procedure

United Future Welcomes Consideration of Judicial Appointments Procedure

The United Future party today welcomed the Government’s advice that it would carry out policy work and public discussion with a view to the establishment of an independent body to appoint judges in the future.

Justice spokesman, Murray Smith, said that this move was strongly advocated by United Future during the Select Committee process and essential to meet concerns expressed by a large number of submitters to the Supreme Court Bill.

The party had opposed the first reading of the Judicial Matters Bill principally because it did not address the issue of Judicial Appointments after very strong concerns were expressed by the business and legal communities during submissions on the Supreme Court Bill that an independent appointment process was necessary to safeguard against future politicisation of the judicial appointment process.

In addition, Mr Smith said, the delay in the implementation of the Supreme Court Bill in order to give enough time for an orderly transition from the Court of Appeal to occur was another issue United Future had pushed for. “Providing a mere 28 days from the Bill’s enactment to the start of the Court always seemed to us to be unnecessarily hasty”, Mr Smith said “and provisions saying that the Court of Appeal rules would apply until the Supreme Court rules were formulated were ‘Mickey Mouse’ provisions for such an important institution.”

Mr Smith said that, notwithstanding these changes, and contrary to some media reports, United Future was still reserving its decision on the question of whether it would support the Bill. “These moves are a step in the right direction”, he said, “although the judicial appointment issues need to be firmed up and a range of other issues resolved in order to address the key concerns of the business and legal communities and Maori. United Future’s support of the Bill is far from being assured”, he said “but we are continuing to discuss these matters with the Government.”

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