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Greens welcome consultation on appointment

Greens welcome judicious consultation on appointments

Green Co-Leader Rod Donald is welcoming public consultation on judicial appointments and says the move is a result of considerable discussion between the Greens and the Government that began at the time of last year's Supreme Court legislation.

Attorney-General Margaret Wilson today released 'Appointing Judges: A Judicial Appointments Commission for New Zealand?', a public consultation paper aimed at moving forward discussion on an independent appointments commission.

"The Green Party has long called for a more transparent judicial appointment process which allows input not only from the judiciary but also from laypeople," said Mr Donald.

"New Zealand has traditionally been well served by its judiciary and judges must continue to be appointed on the basis on merit. But while we do not question the competence or impartiality of current judges, the Greens believe that a Judicial Appointments Commission would, over time, lead to a judiciary whose membership is more reflective of New Zealand society as a whole.

"With our final court of appeal now being sited in this country there is an even greater need for the appointment of judges to be seen to be politically neutral. A Judicial Appointments Commission is therefore a logical development and we are hopeful that this consultation process will increase public awareness and support for the idea and the Government will then bring it about.

Nandor Tanczos, the Green Party's Justice Spokesperson who is currently overseas, has been working closely on the issue with the Attorney-General since the Supreme Court legislation was passed last year. Green support for the Government's decision to cut links to the Privy Council was always predicated on the understanding that some form of public consultation would take place on the development of an independent judicial appointments body after members of the public raised concerns about the appointments issue at the Select Committee's hearings on the Bill.

Mr Donald said the Greens and the Government will continue to closely co-operate on this issue, considering public submissions and the next steps.

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