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Public ignored in act of supreme arrogance


Public ignored in act of supreme arrogance

"The new Supreme Court starts out damaged at conception," according to National Party Leader Bill English.

"The Prime Minister has said this is not a major constitutional change, and that is why it does not require a public referendum.

"That is rubbish," says Mr English.

"Anyone else who has looked at this measure, which not only abolishes appeals to the Privy Council but sets up a final Court of Appeal in New Zealand, says it is a major constitutional change.

"I wish the Government would listen. This court can succeed only if it meets one of two conditions: it has broad support in the Parliament, or if that is not the case, then the broad support of the public," Mr English says.

"It has neither, so instead Labour has passed the bill, on a narrow left-wing majority.

"The way this Government has dealt with the issue has been arrogant, elitist, and contemptuous of public opinion.

"Parliament will be wrestling with the Supreme Court long after Helen Clark has gone because it started without the foundation of support," says Mr English.

"Many people haven't yet stopped to think that Margaret Wilson and Helen Clark get the opportunity to appoint two courts-the Supreme Court, and then to fill all the vacancies on the Court of Appeal created by that process.

"It could be that in the next few months Margaret Wilson and Helen Clark will appoint 10 of the 12 senior judges of New Zealand, for a generation.

"The Government must now protect the Court's integrity by fundamentally changing the appointment process," Mr English says.

"I believe it should ultimately be done by resolution of Parliament after hearings by a special Supreme Court candidates select committee.

"At the very least New Zealanders deserve to be given a forum where judges can be interviewed and their views discussed, before appointments are made," Mr English says.

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