INDEPENDENT NEWS

Bill Removes Conflict Of Interest

Published: Thu 12 Oct 2006 04:51 PM
Bill Removes Conflict Of Interest
New Zealand First is looking forward to getting the Treaty of Waitangi (Removal of Conflict of Interest) Amendment Bill voted to select committee when it has its first reading in the near future.
“I was pleased to have my bill drawn out of the ballot today as it presents an opportunity to remove what we in New Zealand First see as an inherent conflict of interest in the operation of the Courts and Special Jurisdictions sphere of the Ministry of Justice,” said Maori Affairs spokesperson Pita Paraone.
“Specifically, the current system allows serving Judges of the High Court or Maori Land Court to serve as members of the Waitangi Tribunal. The Chief Judge is also able to preside as Chairperson of the Tribunal.
“In the interests of removing any cause for inference of bias, and in the interests of justice being seen to be done, this bill seeks to remove the ability of serving Judges to be members of the Waitangi Tribunal in any capacity.
“However the capacity remains for retired Judges to serve on the Tribunal, including the ability of a retired Chief Judge to preside as Chairperson.
“This bill protects the interests of all members of the Judiciary and the Waitangi Tribunal from charges of conflict of interest in the operations of the Maori Land Court and Waitangi Tribunal, and I hope that it will be well supported.
“The passage of this bill to select committee will allow all those who are concerned about this issue, from any perspective, to have their opinions heard,” said Mr Paraone.
ENDS

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