INDEPENDENT NEWS

Margaret Wilson Has a Hidden Constitutional Agenda

Published: Wed 12 Apr 2000 05:27 PM
ACT is today warning that Government plans to stop appeals to the Privy Council is part of an elite agenda for creeping constitutional change without letting ordinary New Zealanders vote on it.
The warning comes from ACT Justice Spokesman and senior commercial lawyer, Stephen Franks who believes that if national sovereignty was driving the Government’s push it would first protect New Zealanders from the Kangaroo court authority of United Nation committees and treaties which override our law. “These committees have no commitment to our historical liberties. Many members are from countries with no record of respecting human dignity,” he said.
“Instead the Labour/Alliance Ministers are considering more subsidies for appeals to United Nation bodies, even while threatening our right to appeal to the Privy Council.
Stephen Franks said that taking away New Zealanders very cheap access to the best common law judges in the world will affect the quality of New Zealand law. “The Government can then subject New Zealanders to politically correct judges they appoint. An external court of high reputation is more of an obstacle,” he said.
The announcement to do away with appeals to the Privy CounciI is the third signal since the constitutional conference of the Government’s constitutional agenda. Stephen Franks, who attended the conference said it “festered with scorn for equal rights before the law”. “ ‘One person one vote’ was sneered at as ‘outdated’. The need to ‘steer’ ordinary people was taken as given. Now it all falls into a pattern,” he said.
“First it was the honours system. Then the Prime Minister criticised citizen referenda. Now we have the foreshadowed removal of New Zealanders right to appeal to the best neutral judges in the world. I also fear New Zealanders will not be given a say on other planned constitutional changes – like preferential Maori places on local councils,and Area Health Boards based purely on race and not democratic elections.
Mr Franks said it showed contempt for ordinary New Zealanders who would not stand for these changes if they were all seen together. It is simply unacceptable that the Government is taking away the rights of New Zealanders to have a say. “They expect New Zealanders to go along quietly while they replace the corner stones of our legal system with their own politically correct views. New Zealanders should get a chance to vote before our legal system is distorted by this Government’s political correctness,” he said.
“I very much doubt that a fully disclosed agenda of Labour and Alliance Ministers would get past a people’s referendum or even receive majority support in Parliament?” said Stephen Franks.
ends

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