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Fisheries Bill cuts across constitutional process

Dr Wayne Mapp MP National Party Constitutional Issues Spokesman

20 November 2003

Fisheries Bill cuts across constitutional processes

National Party Constitutional Issues spokesman Dr Wayne Mapp says the introduction of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Bill raises serious questions about the Government's constitutional processes.

"This week and last there have been three major cases heard in court on the issues at the very heart of the legislation," he notes.

"A better constitutional process would have been to wait until the High Court has handed down all the decisions on the allocation model.

"This is yet another example of the Government running roughshod over proper process," says Dr Mapp.

"The unfortunate birth of the Supreme Court has simply emboldened the Government to trample over the constitutional boundaries. It is the mark of an arrogant Government to table legislation when it knows the High Court will be issuing decisions on the allocation model.

"Given that the fishing industry has waited so long, it would seem prudent to wait until early December to digest the decisions," Dr Mapp says.

"It is obviously essential to make progress on the allocation issues. The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission has worked hard to address the difficult competing interests. They have always been in the difficult situation of exercising the wisdom of Solomon.

"The special Select Committee must not only be able to properly consider all the ramifications of the allocation model proposed by the Commission in the Bill, but also the decisions of Justice McGechan.

"Starting off with a Bill launched literally in the middle of litigation, is not the best way to build confidence in the process," says Dr Mapp.


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