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Privy Council decision has serious consequences

Media release 16 September 2003

Privy Council decision has serious consequences

Business NZ Chief Executive Simon Carlaw says the select committee recommendation to abolish access to the Privy Council is a turning point that has serious consequences.

"Business wanted to keep access to the Privy Council because it provides a backstop of certainty for commercial cases which gives investment confidence. But underpinning that is an even more fundamental need for confidence in the country's constitutional processes - that confidence has been shaken by the events that have led to today's report on the Supreme Court Bill.

"In order to get to this point, it has been necessary to undertake consultation based on a leading question, to override the majority of those who took part in that consultation, and to undertake constitutional change without a referendum.

"Consequently damage has been done to the legal and political fabric of New Zealand. Notably, a precedent has been set for future constitutional change based on nothing more than a simple majority in Parliament.

"Future Governments can now claim the right to make any other constitutional changes they want, without referendum, by simple majority in Parliament.

"Given this irrevocable change, I call on those Opposition parties who oppose the Supreme Court Bill to keep any Supreme Court under careful review and to consider future constitutional changes to help ensure confidence in the quality of its considerations."


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