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Oaths Review

Press Release

The Monarchist League of New Zealand Inc.

11th May 2005

Oaths Review

Following a review of oaths conducted over the past year the Minister of Justice, the Hon Phil Goff, yesterday introduced a Bill into Parliament to alter a range of official oaths, and the oath of allegiance.
Oaths altered by this Bill cover Allegiance, Citizenship, Members of Parliament, the Judiciary, Executive Councillors, Parliamentary Under-Secretaries, members of the Armed Forces, Police, special constables, and the local government officials' declaration. The Bill provides a Maori version of each oath as an option.

In conformity with the stated aim of modernising the wording of oaths the proposed changes include the removal of what is described as archaic language, and words or phrases that were redundant or lacked clear meaning; simplifying meanings; and ensuring a consistency of language wherever appropriate. Standard phrases have also been incorporated where possible.

Public consultation during the review drew only a limited response, but there was clear support for retaining the current values and beliefs, particularly loyalty to the Queen, and this was reflected in the proposed changes. There are no radical changes, with the oaths continuing to be made to the Queen. The only significant change to oaths and affirmations is that new citizens and members of Parliament will in future pledge loyalty to New Zealand, as well as the Queen, and will commit themselves to upholding New Zealand's values of democracy, and the rights and freedoms of its people.

While it may be questioned what "loyalty to New Zealand", and "respect for its democratic values" actually mean, it is heartening that no attempt was made to remove the oath of allegiance to the Queen.

ENDS

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