Labour should be consulted

November 9th, 2010 at 1:47 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Labour expects the Government to consult with it over a constitutional review to consider such issues as Maori representation, leader says. …

Mr Goff said should be decided on a non-partisan basis but the Government had made no effort to contact his party over the review.“The Government, I presume, will make an approach to try to get a cross-party agreement on something as fundamental as constitutional change in New Zealand,” he said.

“I think the whole process should be inclusive, and that includes talking to all the parties across Parliament.”

I agree with Phil Goff. Labour, and indeed all parliamentary parties, should be consulted at an early stage on constitutional issues. These should be dealt with as openly as possible.

Of course Labour did not consult themselves on major constitutional issues such as the Electoral Finance Act and the Supreme Court establishment, but the record of the last Government should be seen as what not to do – not a benchmark for future Governments.

Prime Minister John Key said the Government had not yet decided when it would consult other parties.

“That’s something we’re going to have to consider, not just Labour but other political parties,” he said.

“You’ll remember that its genesis came from the confidence and supply agreement with the Maori Party so that’s been our initial body of consultation … between National and the Maori Party.”

However, the nature of the review meant it was likely other parties would be consulted.

Sounds like they will, which is the right thing to do. Also, maybe ask the public for our views on what the terms of reference for the review should be. Ultimately the constitution belongs to the people, even if indirectly.

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19 Responses to “Labour should be consulted”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    Supreme Court – absolutely (although I’ll note there *was* a pre-legislative consultative process), but in what sense was the Electoral Finance Act “constitutional”? Important? Yes. Grave human rights concerns? Yes. But constitutional?

    [DPF: I regard the Electoral Act as constitutional]

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  2. GPT1 (2,123 comments) says:

    Goff flogs straw man, highlights hypocrisy.
    Hmmm, is that even news anymore?

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  3. fishbowl (36 comments) says:

    Of course Electoral Finance Act… placing restrictions on the way a person can engage in the politcal process… yep I think that is a constitutional impact

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  4. annie (539 comments) says:

    rofl

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  5. kowtow (8,774 comments) says:

    On the radio news just now JK mentioned “referendum”.

    Good on him, Labour never put the Supreme Court to the people despite pretending to be about the people.

    Let’s hope at the end of this they put the Maori seats to a referendum test, it’s about time.

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  6. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    [DPF: I regard the Electoral Act as constitutional]

    I regard aspects of it as constitutional too. But not really the ones they were changing…

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  7. calendar girl (1,265 comments) says:

    Of course the EFA became part of our “constitutional” framework. Its provisions went to the heart of how we conduct (un)fair elections.

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  8. Nick R (510 comments) says:

    DPF – If memory serves, you also thought the EFA was a suitable subject on which to draw comparisons between the last Government and Chairman Mao etc. Hardly hysterical at all.

    If the EFA involved constitutional rights, so does the Search and Suveillance Bill. How much cross-party consultation has there been on that?

    [DPF: The EFA was most suitable for such comparisons as the bill they introduced would have made it illegal for me to e-mail my views on a policy issue without a statutory declaration.

    As for the SSA bill, the Law Commission consulted widely on this, and the original bill came in under Labour. A slightly different bill came in under National]

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  9. Offshore_Kiwi (501 comments) says:

    kowtow, you can be sure if there is a referendum it will be limited to voters on the maori roll. Or if it’s opened up to all voters and gives the *wrong* result, you can be equally sure that the cowardly traitor will ignore it in his desperation to keep the racist separatists onside and guarantee himself another term on the treasury benches.

    If there is a referendum, I’d like one of the options to be abolishing the maori seats. The are divisive, racist and create distortions in our electoral system where one group is preferred over all others.

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  10. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    If the EFA involved constitutional rights, so does the Search and Suveillance Bill. How much cross-party consultation has there been on that?

    A lot. It was introduced by Labour following an exhaustive and extensive public review by the Law Commission. National has taken over it and both sides continue to support it, following a lengthy select committee process in which many changes were agreed by all parties.

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  11. Nick R (510 comments) says:

    @ Graeme – didn’t Labour just issue a minority select committee report on the Bill? I thought they had issues. So to speak.

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  12. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    Labour has made a minority report in the select committee report on a couple of issues with the Search and Surveillance Bill but continues to support the vast majority of it. The Government has (so far) not agreed to changes in respect of all the concerns, but I don’t believe there’s any suggestion that there wasn’t engagement or discussion.

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  13. tvb (4,512 comments) says:

    Labour can be consulted on the basis they will be constructive. But if they want to play politics then they can be shut out as they have created plenty or precedents for that.

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  14. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    “Of course Labour did not consult themselves on major constitutional issues…”

    Well they did consult themselves, the problem is they didn’t consult others. Oh wait you mean “Of course Labour themselves did not consult on major constitutional issues”

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  15. BlairM (2,365 comments) says:

    Oh boo freaking hoo. Howzabout “WE WON, YOU LOST, EAT THAT”?!

    How about next time Labour is in government (if there is a next time) you start being all principled, because frankly you started this unilateralism shit, and you can’t cry about lack of consultation now.

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  16. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Prime Minister John Key said the Government had not yet decided when it would consult other parties.

    I’m sure a mother like John Key’s would have told him the adage about two wrongs not making a right. If ever there was a case for taking the high road, it would be to ensure that if (when) Labour is re-elected, another Clark would find it that little bit harder to revert to type.

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  17. Viking2 (11,568 comments) says:

    Gees Rex, try to ruin a mans evening? Another Clark FFS not in our time ! ah but wait. Julia is doing a fine job over your ways.
    Should just about become screamingly obvious by the time we vote again next year. By that time Aussie will be looking right in the crap creek financially as well.

    Not that English will be saved by that.

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  18. Muzza M (292 comments) says:

    My initial reaction was to say fuck them (Labour), they are not in coalition so they can not call the shots. After thinking for some time it would be a very cruel thing to put Phil in the same category as Helen. God help NZ should we ever have such a nasty, spiteful, partisan, corrupt, evil, deranged witch like Helen in charge ever again.

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  19. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I second that Muzza.

    we need to set the example but always pointing out to them that they didn’t, so the voters don’t forget.

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