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Ngati Porou Should Protest For The Right Reasons

Ngati Porou Should Protest For The Right Reasons

Thursday 2 Sep 2004

Stephen Franks - Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today urged Ngati Porou to focus its anger at Labour's attack on Judge Caren Wickliffe on the true principle at stake, and said it does not good for Maoridom - or any New Zealander - to hear Maori spokesmen saying that conflicts of interest don't matter.

"Whether the Judge had a conflict is a proper matter for the Government to take to the High Court for decision. It is not an answer to say that, as other iwi also had interests at stake, a possible conflict through Ngati Porou affiliation should be overlooked," Mr Franks said.

"But there is a more important principle - Labour asked the Maori Land Court to slow down, or defer, justice while the Government changed the law. Whatever Judge Wickliffe's motivation, I hope that every judge would reject such an outrageous request.

"Only law actually passed by the people's representatives in Parliament should be able to influence the courts, not Government bluster and threats of law changes. Judge Wickliffe was doing what every New Zealander should expect from the courts - dispensing justice without fear or favour, including from the Government.

"Rule of law countries are distinguishable from `rule of ruler' countries, because - like the most humble citizen - the Government is subject, before the courts, to law made by Parliament.

"Until Labour changes the law, the Maori Land Court should administer justice in accordance with the law as it stands, and as it has been declared by the Court of Appeal," Mr Franks said.


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