INDEPENDENT NEWS

An Open Letter To Green Party On The Supreme Court

Published: Fri 10 Oct 2003 04:42 PM
INVESTIGATE MAGAZINE
http://www.investigatemagazine.tv
OPEN LETTER TO THE GREEN PARTY:
Dear Greens
Next week you will face your consciences when it comes to supporting the Supreme Court law. Here's why I believe you should vote it down:
1. Don't be shallow in your thinking. You may well support the idea of a New Zealand Supreme Court in principle. Ironically, I do too and even advocated as much in the Draft Constitution published in the December 2000 issue of Investigate (with Sue Kedgley on the front cover). However, do not extrapolate an idea that you approve of in principle into reality purely on that basis. Is Margaret Wilson's model really the best one for New Zealand? What alternative models for a Supreme Court have been considered, or failed to be properly considered? Don't make such a major constitutional change on principle, devoid of rational analysis.
2. Even if you fervently agree that this flawed proposal is the best there is, do you genuinely believe that a minority government, aided by an even more minority party, has the right to simply combine votes and force a major constitutional change through on a bare majority of three??? You have been elected under Westminister Conventions, The Parliament you serve in has been, up to now, governed by Westminster constitutional conventions. Part of the reason people supported the Greens in the last couple of elections is because they saw you as people, ultimately, of principle and integrity. To keep the Labour Government honest. I truly suspect this is your last chance as a party to rescue a reputation already suffering over the Duynhoven cave-in.
3. Let's break the rationale behind point 2 down even further. This proposal is Labour's baby. Left to their own devices, as a minority party, Labour would have no ability to force this through. Left to your own devices, the Green Party certainly wouldn't be able to force it through (try forcing through legislation preventing the lifting of the moratorium and see how far you get). If neither of your two parties can singularly claim a genuine mandate from the public to do this, joining forces does not make it any more legitimate. Where do you draw your own mandate for this? Forget Labour - where is the clause in the Green Party manifesto that categorically states to voters that Greens will work to abolish the Privy Council? You have even less mandate for this than Labour.
4. Let's look at where the public mandate actually is: the majority of Maori are opposed to this fast-track jack-up. The majority of the public are opposed to it, and the majority of submissions to the select committee were opposed.
5. If the Green Party supports Labour in this, you become part of the political problem, not the solution. Your mana to speak on consitutional issues will vanish in a cloud of skunk fumes. How can any of you - Nandor, pay attention - offer sincere comment on constitutional reform when you have been sucked in by Wilson and Clark to sell your souls on Duynhoven and now the Supreme Court.
6. The only solution to this debacle is to refuse to vote for the Bill in its current form unless it becomes subject to a public referendum. If Labour have good arguments in support of what they are doing, let them convince the citizens of this country.
7. Don't be fooled by Wilson's sophistry on the abolition of the Privy Council by Britain - it is merely being re-constituted with a new name but the same judges. New Zealand would still be entitled to access. As I said earlier, I actually support the idea of an NZ Supreme Court, but only within the framework of a written constitution providing proper checks and balances, not as part of a Labour Party power trip. It may be inevitable that we ditch the Privy Council, but it doesn't have to be part of TINA - Labour's fondness for "There Is No Alternative" is just as repugnant today as it was when Roger Douglas and the Business Roundtable coined it. I was a spin doctor for Labour in the Lange administration. I know how the spin is done. DON'T BE RAILROADED BY LABOUR'S SWEETTALK.
8. If Labour have made secret promises to you on GM, ask yourself whether the end justifies the means, as Hitler maintained, or whether committing evil to attain a good end is worth it when other alternatives exist. If Labour really have offered you a carrot...be brave and fess up: the public will appreciate your honesty and look at Labour in a harsh new light.
9. I prefer the TINU principle: There Is No Urgency. OK, we need a Supreme Court. But is Margaret's the best? No. A properly constituted Supreme Court might actually have assisted you to keep the GM moratorium in place. New Zealand will only get one chance to do this properly. Don't screw it up for the rest of us for the sake of political expediency. Let's take a deep breath and vote this down.
That's it. This is all I can do. The choice is yours.
Regards
Ian Wishart

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