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Attorney General must consult on judges

Attorney General must consult on judges

Margaret Wilson is wrong to think she'll escape political flak over the appointment of judges to the new Supreme Court by following the recommendations of an advisory committee - which she herself has set up, says National's Justice spokesman Richard Worth.

"We face an unique situation in the history of New Zealand where a whole bench of judges are to be appointed to the new Court, coupled with the likelihood that a raft of appointments will also be required to the existing Court of Appeal.

"A wise Attorney General, conscious of her constitutional responsibilities as chief legal adviser to the Government, would secure a measure of buy-in across the political parties for what are very significant appointments," says Mr Worth.

"But Margaret Wilson is rejecting that approach.

"Further, recently published advertisements tend to suggest that the Government's more focused on appointing judges who are culturally and gender-sensitive, rather than on their legal merits.

"The new Supreme Court is already clouded in controversy which could have been avoided by an Attorney General anxious to protect the integrity of the legal system.

"It is essential that the process of judicial appointments is subject to greater scrutiny, particularly with the new Court's potential to change the legal landscape of this country," says Mr Worth.

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