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Referendum essential on Supreme Court Bill


17 April 2003
PR58/2003
Referendum essential on Supreme Court Bill

The Government's proposal to establish a Supreme Court of New Zealand and abolish appeals to the Privy Council is one that should not be taken lightly, says Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) President, Tom Lambie.

In a submission to the Justice Select Committee, Mr Lambie highlighted the importance of the Privy Council as a final Appeal Court to ensure business confidence to invest in New Zealand is retained.

"The expertise and independence of the Privy Council is highly valued by the business community and there is no evidence that would suggest we should abandon it.

"Proponents of the Supreme Court Bill seem to believe that by New Zealand having its own Supreme Court will be positive by "using the greater understanding of local conditions of the Judges of New Zealand's highest court."* However, what is particularly relevant in the context of commercial decisions is that the Courts can be expected to uphold contractual arrangements.

"Given the significance of the constitutional change proposed by Government, a general referendum of New Zealanders should be conducted on this issue. This is far too important an issue to the business community and wider New Zealand public for Government to ram through with a simple majority in Parliament."

* Explanatory Note of the Supreme Court Bill.

ENDS


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