Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Cullen Wrong On Parliamentary Sovereignty


Cullen Wrong On Parliamentary Sovereignty

Michael Cullen is wrong when he implies that the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty means Parliament can do absolutely anything it likes, the Treaty Tribes Coalition said today.

"Michael Cullen's comments must surely send a chill up the spine of every New Zealander. If Michael Cullen believes he can take away the rights of Màori to their day in court, he must think he can do it to any New Zealander," Coalition Chairman Harry Mikaere said.

The Treaty Tribes Coalition acknowledges that parliamentary sovereignty is part of New Zealand's unwritten constitution and must therefore be respected.

However, the Coalition says that equally part of New Zealand's unwritten constitution is that parliamentary sovereignty must be exercised responsibly, and with proper regard for the common law, the rights of citizens and the role of the courts.

The Coalition is highlighting key judicial and academic comments that question Michael Cullen's assertion on parliamentary sovereignty.

"The Government must let the courts do their job. That is the only fair way to determine any legal Màori interests in the foreshore and seabed. Màori will abide by the judgements of the courts."

Mr Mikaere also criticised National Party Deputy Leader and Màori Affairs Spokesman Gerry Brownlee for describing the Waitangi Tribunal as "politically-appointed enthusiasts" and "not jurists".

"That shows very little respect for a tribunal which Don Brash told the Treaty Tribes Coalition two weeks ago a National Government would fund properly. If Gerry Brownlee does not believe tribunal members are jurists, he should be prepared to see this case go to the Supreme Court where there can be no doubt that the judges are indeed jurists, and the proper people to sort the issue out," Mr Mikaere said.

The academic and judicial comments highlighted by the Treaty Tribes Coalition are:

Rt Hon. GEOFFREY PALMER: "There are . judicial statements which challenge the view that Parliament's law-making powers are unlimited: according to these dicta, some common law rights, such as the right not to be subjected to torture and the right of access to the Courts, may lie so deep that not even Parliament can override them. In the light of this ongoing debate, what limits there may be on the capacity of Parliament to make laws cannot be authoritatively stated; however, it is no longer safe to assume that there are no limits." The Laws of New Zealand: Parliament Reissue (2003) par 2

Lord COOKE of Thorndon: "We have reservations as to the extent to which in New Zealand even an Act of Parliament can take away the right of citizens to resort to the ordinary courts of law for the determination of their rights." NZ Drivers' Association v NZ Road Carriers (1982)

Professor PHILIP A JOSEPH (restating A V Dicey's Doctrine of the Rule of Law): "(3) Although common law freedoms must yield to statute, these freedoms embody essential values warranting preservation even against the legislative supremacy of Parliament." Constitutional & Administrative Law 2nd Edition (2001)

NIGEL HAMPTON QC: "If a Government can change the law . part way through a case when it sees a chance of that case being lost, then the rule of law, the role of the courts, the right of citizens to be tried in accordance with the law seem to take on a somewhat hollow or shadowy existence." LawTalk (1988)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>

 

Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election