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United Future Adopts Principled Stand



United Future announced today that it cannot support the passage of the Supreme Court Bill at this time. The party leader, Peter Dunne, said after today's caucus meeting that "Our concern all along has been that a major constitutional change of this type should only occur with significant public support".

He noted that "United Future is not convinced of the level of public support for or information about the proposed change". Mr Dunne added that "We believe strongly that significant changes to our institutions should be made only with full public and political concurrence, and this is not yet clear in the case of the Supreme Court Bill".

Mr Dunne confirmed that United Future is concerned at the level of opposition, in the business community in particular, to the establishment of a Supreme Court. "Because we are a pro-business party, we have listened closely to those concerns".

"For these reasons, we have resolved not to support this legislation at this time, and will be voting against it accordingly in Parliament this week.

The United Future is to be congratulated. It has been under intense pressure from the Government to support the Bill. Yet it has chosen to stick to its own principles, and reject a Bill that is both flawed and unwarranted.

Only the Green Party continues to support the Government on the Supreme Court Bill. United Futures decision today raises the prospect that the Green Party, or elements within the Labour Party, will recognize that the time is not right for the Bill to be passed.

The Government should now accept that it cannot proceed with the Supreme Court Bill in the face of such strong opposition. A Constitutional change should never be forced through against the wishes of all of the centre and centre-right parties in Parliament; the business community; Maori; and much of the general community. No constitutional change of this magnitude should be put through without a referendum and a 75% majority in Parliament.

John Cox

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