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Supreme Court a Trojan horse for hidden agenda

Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

09 October 2003

Supreme Court a Trojan horse for hidden agenda

"Labour's failure to gain widespread support for its Supreme Court further undermines its credibility," says National Party Leader Bill English.

He's commenting on the Government's determination to deny the public a chance to have a say on the new Supreme Court, by rejecting calls for a referendum. "The Government has done nothing to gain wider party support in Parliament and in fact, it has lost the support of United Future," says Mr English.

"In these circumstances this substantial constitutional change must be put to a referendum.

"It's academic arrogance for Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson to say that the public are not clever enough to understand the issues," he says.

"This court will be dealing with everything from Treaty of Waitangi issues to family law and New Zealanders are quite capable of deciding whether they want to keep the Privy Council or take on this new court.

"Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson are constitutional wolves in sheep's clothing, they have played down their republican agenda.

"It's an agenda which has so far seen the removal of Honours, the end of the title of Queens Counsel and the refusal to produce Queens Jubilee medals in New Zealand.

"There's also a rethink underway on the prerogative power over reviewing Court cases and the Governor General's warrant on the Public Finance (state sector Management) Bill is being removed," Mr English says.

"The constitution belongs to the people not to a minority left wing party.

"Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson should be more open about their intentions and on major constitutional matters they should be listening to the people by way of a referendum," says Mr English.

Ends

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