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A New Zealand Supreme Court better for business

14 October 2003

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

A New Zealand Supreme Court better for business

The Progressive Party is voting in favour of the Supreme Court Bill in part because having our own final court of appeal will be better for the overwhelming majority of local businesses and employers, Jim Anderton, said today.

"A real positive side to what will be enacted by Parliament later today is that it will mean access to final appeal procedures on questions of commercial law and its enforcement for the many thousands of small to medium businesses previously denied such access because of expense and distance," the Progressive Party leader said.

In the past the Progressive Party and its predecessors have expressed some reservations about the idea of severing ties with the Privy Council in London.

These concerns centred in particular around the need to establish a genuinely independent final appellate court to replace the Council and the need for full consultation with Maori, many of whom see the retention of the Council as an expression of their particular relationship with the Crown through the Treaty of Waitangi.

"However, the British government itself announced some months ago that they are abandoning this forum of final appeal and replacing it with a new British court which will not readily lend itself to the previous purposes of appeal by other jurisdictions.

Sir Thomas Legg, former head of the Lord Chancellor’s Department, recently stated that “non-UK users of the Privy Council should be politely invited to consider alternative arrangements” meaning New Zealand needed to consider whether or not the British replacement for the Privy Council would be a satisfactory substitute in any case.

"On balance, we in the Progressive Party are satisfied that the proposed New Zealand Supreme Court meets the necessary requirements of judicial independence. It is well past time that New Zealand took responsibility for its own judicial system in the same way that we accept responsibility for our own government," Jim Anderton said.


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