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


Constitution Overview

Constitution Overview
Q+A, 9-10am Sundays on TV ONE and one hour later on TV ONE plus 1. Repeated Sunday evening at 11:30pm. Streamed live at www.tvnz.co.nz.   
Thanks to the support from NZ On Air.
Q+A is on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/NZQandA#!/NZQandA and on Twitter, http://twitter.com/#!/NZQandA
Q + A – April 28, 2013
Constitution Overview
PROF PHILIP JOSEPH – Constitutional Expert      
It's an unwritten constitution in the sense we don't have a formal written codified instrument which we can hold up and say “here’s the constitution”. It's not to say, though, that it’s not written. It's written in various documents and statutes of Parliament, in the decisions of courts and also in some of the quite ancient statutes of the British Parliament – for example, Magna Carta, which was signed way back, of course, in 1215 is part of our constitution.
PHILIP            Well, some people ask the question if it isn't broken, why fix it? And that's a good question, because I think the answer is the New Zealand constitution has worked very well since we were established as a Crown colony way back in 1840. We are a liberal democracy and we abide by the rule of law. But that is not to say that we should not be engaging, though, on these sorts of fundamental reviews – revisiting, perhaps, our constitutional foundations, our roots.
DEBORAH CODDINGTON – Constitutional Review Panel
                        We are really just there to take information out to all New Zealanders about our constitutional arrangements so that they can make submissions.
PHILIP            Well, the first thing to say about the terms of reference, and I'm not wishing to be unkind here, but they do lack a certain coherence, because they cobble together a number of discrete mechanistic aspects of our electoral system with what I would call big-ticket items regarding, for example, the role of the Treaty of Waitangi within the social compact. And so these big-ticket items, which go to what I call constitutional fundamentals, are cobbled together with these very mechanistic discrete issues affecting our electoral system – for example, how many MPs should we have?
DEBORAH     Look, it’s not just about the Treaty of Waitangi. There are a lot of issues – as I said, the Bill of Rights is a very important thing. The Treaty of Waitangi is important too, and it’s up for people to make their submissions on all of those things. Yes, we do have I think five or six Maori members on the panel, but, you know, we're not captured, whatever that means, by Maori at all.
PHILIP            This whole review originated out of a political agreement between the National and Maori Parties. And so naturally the terms of reference will tend to reflect the constituencies of interest, shall we say, of these parties – for example, the Maori Party is very committed, of course, naturally, to the issue of separate Maori representation and also the role of the Treaty of Waitangi. Whether the National Party is quite so committed in terms of the review is an open question.
DEBORAH     I don't think it will come to nothing, but I still think it will have been worth it because more and more people will be aware of what our constitution is. I’d just like to also say there is in Parliament a cross-party support group, so all parties support it apart from New Zealand First. And I still think we can probably get Winston on board.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Key In NY: Prime Minister Addresses United Nations

    Prime Minister John Key has addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, focusing on a call for action in Syria and on other conflicts, reform of the veto process and on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More>>.


    Gordon Campbell: On The Lack Of Accountability Over Philip Smith

    In New Zealand, accountability is an exotic creature rarely glimpsed at ministerial level, or among senior management. The flight to Rio by the paedophile /murderer Philip John Smith/Traynor is no exception. More>>


    More On Corrections

    Gordon Campbell: On Putin’s Diplomatic Coup Over Syria

    There’s a simple historical precedent for what is occurring in Syria. During WWII, the Allies joined forces with a known butcher and tyrant – Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union – in order to defeat a greater evil, Nazi Germany… More>>


    Key 'Didn't Know': Brownlee Seeks Pandas In China

    While Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is in China pushing a taxpayer funded deal to bring two pandas to New Zealand, the country’s military look set to be hit with a pay freeze, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. More>>


    Scoop Business: GCSB Willing To Extend Cyber-Attack Programme To Local ISPs

    The Government Communications Security Bureau’s ‘Cortex’ cyber-security programme has been successful in helping identify and mitigate a series of cyber attacks since its introduction and an extension to cover local internet service providers is still on the cards... More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news