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Greens Hail Supreme Step Forward For New Zealand

16 September, 2003
Greens hail supreme step forward for New Zealand

The Green Party applauded the Supreme Court Bill, as reported back to Parliament today, calling it another step towards forging a distinct New Zealand identity as a Pacific nation.

Nandor Tanczos, the Green Justice spokesperson, has confirmed the Greens will support the Bill's passage through all legislative stages.

"We welcome the Supreme Court Bill as a part of the process of redefining ourselves in Aotearoa as a Pacific nation," said Nandor. "It is an important step in New Zealand's inevitable movement towards de-colonisation. Our final court should be situated in our own country.

"A New Zealand-based final court of appeal would greatly enhance access to justice, one of the bedrocks of a democratic nation.

"At present, we don't have a fully functioning final court of appeal because access to the Privy Council is so restricted and the Court of Appeal is too overworked to give the lengthy consideration necessary for a final appeals court."

Nandor said he was pleased that Green contributions, such as a reference to the Treaty of Waitangi among the purposes of the Bill and the ability to appoint technical advisors to criminal as well as civil cases, were reflected in the Bill's overall shape.

"It is a significant step that one of the purposes of the Bill refers to the Treaty of Waitangi, as opposed to its 'principles'. We would have liked to expand this further but recognise that such a significant constitutional move should only happen in the context of a broad public debate.

"Similarly, while there is an international move towards more transparent processes of judicial appointments, those matters are better dealt with in the context of the Judicial Matters Bill, currently before the committee. That would allow the issue of a Judicial Appointments Committee to be subject to public submission.

"This is an enabling bill, so we welcome the availability of technical advisors to any case before the proposed Supreme Court. We also urge the Government to give further consideration to providing for overseas judges to sit on particular cases when it is appropriate, although we have been persuaded by the submissions against making overseas judges an integral part of the bench.

"The Greens will give their unconditional support to this bill through its final stages. We celebrate this significant step forward for the nationhood of Aotearoa," said Nandor.


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