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Starting the constitution conversation

Starting the constitution conversation
14 January 2013
All New Zealanders are invited to share their aspirations for this country and what matters to them most about how Aotearoa New Zealand is run in the future.

The Constitutional Advisory Panel will actively seek a broad range of views on New Zealand’s constitution in the first half of 2013.

Panel co-chair Sir Tipene O’Regan says: “The review is a chance for us to think about this country’s future. What kind of place do we want our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to live in?”

The Panel’s terms of reference include the scope and status of the Bill of Rights Act 1990, electoral issues, Māori representation, the role of the Treaty of Waitangi in our constitutional arrangements and whether New Zealand should have a written constitution.

To support public conversations the independent Panel has produced a booklet, New Zealand’s Constitution: The Conversation So Far, summarising the key issues up for consideration. The booklet and more information about the Panel is available at www.cap.govt.nz

Additional website resources and information materials will be available in February to help individuals, organisations and communities facilitate their own conversations about New Zealand’s constitution and prepare submissions by the middle of 2013.

Co-chair Emeritus Professor John Burrows QC says: “The constitution belongs to the people of New Zealand and the Panel wants to hear from as many people as possible.”

The Panel is due to report back to Government by December 2013. Recommendations will be made based on the submissions received from the general public.


About New Zealand’s constitution
New Zealand has a constitution – it’s just not all written down in a single document.
Our constitution determines how our country is run and how laws are made. New Zealand law affects just about every aspect of our daily lives.
Our constitution sets out the powers of the head of state (the Queen, represented by the Governor-General), Government (Prime Minister and Ministers), Parliament (members of Parliament) and the courts; the relationships between them; and their relationships with us, the people of New Zealand.
Our constitutional rules include laws such as the Bill of Rights Act and the Constitution Act, foundational documents such as the Treaty of Waitangi, and fundamental values including that everyone must follow the law.

About the Constitutional Advisory Panel – Te Ranga Kaupapa Ture
The Constitutional Advisory Panel is an independent advisory group appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Māori Affairs in August 2011.

The Panel’s role is to seek, listen and record the views of New Zealanders on the constitutional issues described in the Terms of Reference and to report back to the Government by the end of 2013.

The Panel members are Emeritus Professor John Burrows, Sir Tipene O’Regan, Peter Chin, Deborah Coddington, Hon Sir Michael Cullen, Hon John Luxton, Bernice Mene, Dr Leonie Pihama, Hinurewa Poutu, Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Peter Tennent and Emeritus Professor Dr Ranginui Walker. For profiles on the Panel go to www.cap.govt.nz


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