INDEPENDENT NEWS

Wilson's Poor Judgement A Constitutional Threat

Published: Fri 24 Aug 2001 01:18 PM
Wilson's Poor Judgement A Constitutional Threat
Friday, August 24 2001
Stephen Franks
Press Releases -- Justice, Law & Order
Attorney General Margaret Wilson must take the blame for the debacle surrounding Human Rights Commissioner Ella Henry, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said.
"Ms Wilson's poor judgement and ideological zeal is now posing a constitutional threat.
"She has two current projects that will make her judgement critical. Plans to abolish appeals to the Privy Council and burying the Race Relations Office in the Human Rights Commission.
"Given her record we have to believe and fear that she would take the chance to skew a new court with her appointees if the Privy Council appeal right goes.
"The Bill introduced last week to bury the Race Relations Office in the Commission will make things worse in race relations. The Commission has earned contempt in the past, even when the Government was trying to make appointments bi-partisan.
"But this year Ms Wilson took it upon herself to stack the Human Rights Commission with a load of her politically correct cronies. I have asked the Chairman of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee to place on committee agenda next week a review of the suitability of all the appointments to the Commission and the appointment process. (Copy of letter attached)
"There was no proper consultation in these appointments ' we were just told what we were getting, which is typical of what we have come to expect from Ms Wilson and her 'we know best' Government. ACT predicted earlier this year when the appointments were made that tears would flow.
"This is all part of Ms Wilson's and the Government's scheme to change the constitution covertly. But none of us imagined that simple unsuitability would be shown so starkly, so soon.
"The Human Rights Commission was already held in low regard. Someone described its political correctness to me this week as 'velvet fascism'.
"The sheer lack of judgement displayed by Ms Henry show that she should never have been appointed to such a position.
"This whole incident demonstrates that Ms Wilson is obsessed with having her narrow and dangerous view of the world infiltrating through all parts of society," Stephen Franks said.
ENDS
24 August 2001
Tim Barnett
Chairperson
Justice & Electoral Select Committee
Parliament Buildings
WELLINGTON
Dear Tim
I write to seek a Select Committee inquiry into the appointments process for Human Rights Commissioners, and the qualifications of the current appointees. Please add this to the agenda for the Committee's next meeting.
I seek this because we are about to spend many hours of expensive time in looking at the structure of the Human Rights Commission. No amount of tinkering with structure will reduce the contempt many now feel for it, if the appointment process and the attitudes of office holders are mistrusted.
Such an inquiry is urgent because we could recommend procedures to restore a multi-partisan approach when we report back on the Human Rights Amendment Bill.
I will urge also that we resolve to seek from Parliament an extension of time for consideration of this Bill. As she did with the Property (Relationships) Bill the Hon Margaret Wilson is trying bulldoze something through with only perfunctory select committee scrutiny, and little realistic opportunity for concerned New Zealanders to make submissions.
It would be better for us to go back to Parliament now for a normal timetable, so that a proper examination can be done. Recent events mean that Parliament should not appear to compromise quality trying to meet an unjustified timetable.
Yours sincerely
Stephen Franks MP
ACT New Zealand
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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