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National's collective amnesia on Privy Council

15 October 2003 Media Statement

National's collective amnesia on Privy Council

National MPs opposing the Supreme Court Bill have very short memories, Associate Maori Affairs Minister John Tamihere says.

A quick check over statements made by prominent National MPs in the not-too-distant past shows that they have been enthusiastic supporters of abolishing ties to the Privy Council, Mr Tamihere says.

Some quotes from National on the Supreme Court:

"We should feel confident in our own abilities to administer justice fairly for all New Zealanders."
- Tony Ryall, 2000

"I am one of those who believed the Privy Council has out-served its time."
- Nick Smith, 1994

"We do not have to trot off to London for certain permissions on all sorts of constitutional matters. We will do that here. As we go along that road it is more inevitable that there will be a demand for some change."
- Maurice Williamson, 1995

"I think the Privy Council is out-dated."
- Maurice again, 1994

"That the National Party supports the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council provided there is a two-tier appeal structure within New Zealand above the High Court."
- Recommendation of the National Party's constitutional policy taskforce, chaired by Doug Graham, 2001

"This Bill will enhance New Zealand's national identity as a unique and independent nation without compromising the quality of justice."
- Minister of Justice Doug Graham on National's bill to abolish Privy Council appeals, 1996

Mr Tamihere said the combi ust that."ned efforts of Bill English, Richard Prebble and Winston Peters in attempting to hang on to the Privy Council were backward-looking.

"The axis of evil of Prebble, Peters and English can't accept that New Zealand no longer needs to hang on to the apron strings of Mother England. We are a proud nation that is ready to take responsibility for its own justice system."

For Maori, that kaupapa has particular relevance. I came to Parliament because I want to see Maori empowered to stand on their own two feet. This bill allows Maori, and all New Zealanders, to do just that."


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