INDEPENDENT NEWS

Snags in Supreme Court for Maori

Published: Mon 9 Dec 2002 05:07 PM
Snags in Supreme Court for Maori
The National Party’s warning Maori there could be hidden snags in the Supreme Court Bill, which have the potential to influence crucial Treaty of Waitangi decisions.
“When you’re looking to appoint five senior judges to the highest court in the land, there’s only a handful of legal experts you can choose from,” says the National Party’s Maori Affairs spokeswoman Georgina Te Heuheu.
“We live in a small, tight knit community, where opinions on the Treaty and Maori constitutional rights are often galvanised and deeply politicised.
“There’s always the fear that those deep seated, often unvoiced opinions, could manifest themselves in future rulings.
“At least with the safety net of the Privy Council, Maori have the opportunity to seek a truly independent legal opinion,” says Georgina Te Heuheu.
“For nearly two centuries Maori have had the guidance of a high quality, independent court, removed from domestic politics.
“This is important when Maori cases are often against the crown and involve constitutional rights.
“This Bill paves the way for the potential politicisation of court rulings, which all Maori should strongly resist, “ Georgina Te Heuheu says.

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