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Disappointment at Govt stance on property rights

Gordon Copeland Press Release
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, 12th September 2007

Disappointment at Government’s stance on property rights

Independent MP Gordon Copeland today asked a series of questions in the House to Attorney-General Michael Cullen concerning the Government’s decision not to support his Private Member’s Bill adding private property rights to the New Zealand Bill of Rights.

“I am deeply troubled by the Government’s decision not to clearly and unambiguously support private property rights in New Zealand,” said Mr Copeland.

“My Bill simply added to the New Zealand Bill of Rights, in almost identical terms, the property rights contained in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. Then Labour Prime Minister Peter Fraser was an enthusiastic supporter and part of the team which brought together that ground breaking Declaration.”

“Also, in a February 2006 speech, after the first reading of my Bill in Parliament (which was supported by all parties except the Greens) Sir Geoffrey Palmer, father of the New Zealand Bill of Rights, came out in favour of the inclusion of property rights. This was a reversal of a deliberate decision he had taken in the 1980s to leave property rights out of the Bill of Rights.”

“Some of the Government’s opposition to my Bill stems from the belief that it could complicate the legal interpretation of property rights in relation to the Resource Management Act 1991.”

“All of this represents a fundamental repositioning of the Labour Party which should concern all New Zealanders. Their interest now is in protecting the Crown against litigation rather than protecting the private property rights of the citizens of New Zealand against the intrusion of the State.”

Mr Copeland is equally critical of the National Party who, whilst confirming their support for property rights, will not be supporting his Bill.

“Nice words which are not backed up by actions are useless,” said Mr Copeland.

ENDS

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