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Who Rules, PM, Parliament Or Unelected Judges?

Who Rules, PM, Parliament Or Unelected Judges?

Monday 2 Feb 2004 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution (view HTML version at: http://www.act.org.nz/item.jsp?id=25248 )

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today urged journalists to probe Prime Minister Helen Clark's plot to usurp our constitution, after she told State radio today that the courts would block a National/ACT Government from abolishing Maori TV.

"But under whose law, Prime Minister? Since when did unelected judges tell a democratically-elected Parliament what it can and can't do?" Mr Franks said.

"This fits with Deputy Prime Minister Dr Michael Cullen's comment on the day of National Leader Dr Don Brash's speech. Dr Cullen said `international courts' would stop Dr Brash implementing his policy.

"In effect, Dr Cullen was gloating that a National/ACT restoration of colour-blind law - that stops racial discrimination - would be blocked by international bureaucrats and lawyers never elected by New Zealanders.

"This makes the sacking of our former top court - the neutral Privy Council in London - and its replacement by Ms Wilson's indigenous Supreme Court much more sinister. Miss Clark and Ms Wilson want to secure their racist agenda against democracy.

"I am stunned by journalists' failure to follow up on these aspects. The Supreme Court is comprised largely of the folk who, regrettably, decided to overturn 40 years of settled laws upholding Crown ownership of the beaches.

"I see a constitutional showdown coming. Our unwritten constitution has always been clear. Parliamentary sovereignty means that laws are made by elected representatives who can be sacked if the people don't like those laws.

"The courts interpret and apply the law, and judges can't be sacked unless they're caught with their hands in the till or worse. If Miss Clark, Dr Cullen and Ms Wilson are right, I fear we will need a power for the people sack judges - as well as politicians," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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