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GG should intervene on Supreme Court appointments

Richard Worth National Justice Spokesperson

Governor General should intervene on Supreme Court appointments

"The stage has been set for the Governor General to exercise the reserve powers of the Crown and intervene on Margaret Wilson's plan to appoint the Supreme Court judges," Richard Worth, National's Justice Spokesman said today.

"The clear constitutional convention is that the Attorney General will take soundings from a wide range of sources in the community before making her recommendation to the Governor General.

"That convention has been abandoned. Instead Wilson plans to accept the advice of three people who she has set up as a Tribunal, blindly following their recommendation, without exercising her own independent judgement or consulting with others.

"The judges of the new Court have the potential to shape the legal and social landscape of New Zealand in a significant way. It is wrong that they should be appointed through a limited political process.

"Precedents have been set where the Governor General has intervened in decisions by Ministers.

"In August 1984, Russell Marshall, the then Labour Minister, announced a Maori welcome would replace the traditional military guard of honour at Parliament openings. The then Governor General disapproved and the Government reinstated the honour guard alongside the Maori guard.

"In August 1997 the Minister for Youth Affairs, Deborah Morris, announced that free condoms should be available in schools and youth clubs. The then Governor General questioned the wisdom of that policy and it was abandoned.

"It is important that there be widespread support for judges of the new court and community consultation is an important part of that process," Mr Worth said.

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