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Maori will benefit from Supreme Court, say Greens

Maori will benefit from Supreme Court, say Greens

The Green Party is confident that Maori will benefit from the establishment of a Supreme Court, Maori Affairs spokesperson, Metiria Turei said today.

"The Party, in particular its active Maori membership, has been keenly aware of the potential implications for Maori in severing links to the Privy Council," said Metiria. "Our support for the bill is the result of extensive consultation and discussion within the Party over the last six months.

"This is why the Greens have negotiated an amendment to the Bill, which defines the purpose of a Supreme Court as being: 'to enable important legal matters, including legal matters relating to the Treaty of Waitangi, to be resolved with an understanding of New Zealand conditions, history, and traditions'.

"This is a significant advance on previous legislation that only referred to the 'principles' of the treaty.

"It is a fact that the Privy Council in recent times has been less inclined to intervene on issues relating to the Treaty (or matters of law involving policy more generally) as the members seldom have any real knowledge of it or of Aotearoa. Research shows the Court of Appeal has been more pro-active in recent times in recognising Maori interests than the Privy Council.

"Like all political parties, not all our members agree with all our policies all the time," said Metiria. "However, we have a more transparent and democratic process for forming those policies than any other party and every member has a chance to have their say and influence policy before it is ratified.

"The Green Party's support for the Supreme Court Bill, as the best way to ensure fair and accessible justice for all New Zealanders, remains unchanged."

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