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Privy Council Referendum

Media Release

13 October 2003

Privy Council Referendum

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has renewed his call for New Zealanders of all political persuasions to sign the petition requiring a referendum on the abolition of the right of appeal to the Privy Council.

Mr. Peters addressed a Press Conference in Wellington this afternoon and has noted that the growing opposition to the bulldozing approach of the Labour minority Government is coming from across the political divide.

“This is about the rights of all New Zealanders. There exists a majority who are against a minority Government forcing through such a fundamental constitutional change.

“Given a free vote, many in the Labour Caucus would not support this change. And given the nature of their support base, neither they should. In particular those MPs representing the Maori electorates cannot, in any conscience, vote for the Supreme Court Bill.

“Some would have us believe that, because this policy change was mooted in Labour’s manifesto, there is some sort of mandate. Labour did not gain a majority at the election and nor did the Progressives, together or separately, andthey are relying on the support of the Greens who did not campaign for this Bill. There is no mandate,” Mr Peters said.

“New Zealand First has always argued that the right of appeal to the Privy Council should be retained until PUBLIC OPINION requires reconsideration of this matter when a referendum, following an extensive information campaign, should be conducted.

“This arrogant administration has decided that IT dictates what public opinion is, and never mind the people. If a few academics and mates of the cloistered Margaret Wilson have a certain opinion then that takes sway. No matter that the vast majority of the populace does not agree. Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson have taken it upon themselves to decide what the rest of us should think and believe.

“In jointly launching a petition calling for a referendum on the Privy Council, last July, New Zealand First sought to maximise the opportunity for New Zealanders to have their say. Supporters of all parties left, right, and centre, need to voice their opposition to a ruthless government bulldozing its undemocratic programme through. They need to sign the petition to force a referendum.

“And they need to know, that if the Government fails to do the honourable thing and withdraw the Supreme Court Bill then New Zealand First will repeal it after the next election,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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