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ACT Won't Participate If Inquiry A White Wash

ACT Won't Participate If Inquiry A White Wash

Tuesday 16 Nov 2004

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Governance & Constitution

Confirmation that neither National or New Zealand First will sit on Helen Clark's constitutional inquiry reduces the already limited prospect that the committee will do anything useful, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"If it becomes plain that the inquiry is doing nothing more than giving the Prime Minister an excuse to refuse to answer hard questions on Treaty issues, then ACT will be out of there," Mr Franks said.

"Labour's nomination of Peter Dunne isn't a good omen. His statements so far show no understanding of the meaning of the term `Parliamentary sovereignty' - particularly when he says he supports it, then says he wants unelected judges to strike down what they consider to be bad law.

"I can't think of any time United Future has stood up for principle. Mr Dunne made a great show of voting against the Civil Union Bill, then voted for the unprincipled Relationships (Statutory References) Bill that automatically deems marriage and de facto relationships to be identical for most legal purposes.

"United Future has collaborated with Labour in sticking weasel words into legislation. Weasel words transfer power to the judges who are forced to give meaning to them. The treatment of the word `family' in establishing the Families Commission is a case in point.

"If the Government refuses to answer the constitutional inquiry's legitimate questions, or if the committee refuses to ask the hard questions, ACT won't waste its time. We won't stay just to confer legitimacy on a whitewash for constitutional damage Labour has done or plans to do.

"On the other hand, if the committee shows a commitment to strengthening our constitutional inheritance of equality before the law, one person one-vote democracy, sanctity of property rights, and separation of church and State, ACT will work hard to help," Mr Franks said.


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