Constitutional Issues Forum

February 26th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young at NZ Herald reports:

The issue of whether MP Brendan Horan should resign from Parliament now his party has expelled him could be part of the legitimate public “conversation” on a wide range of issues relevant to New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements.

The Government-appointed advisory panel on will today launch a public consultation process at Te Papa in Wellington.

One of the issues under discussion is electoral integrity legislation – also known as party-hopping law – and whether MPs that leave parties from which they were elected can continue to remain in Parliament. …

Among the other issues the panel wants discussed is whether Maori representation in local government should be guaranteed, whether the Treaty of Waitangi should be entrenched in law, if the Bill of Rights Act should be made higher law (enabling the courts to invalidate laws that are inconsistent with it), the size of Parliament and the length of the parliamentary terms, and whether New Zealand should have a written constitution.

All good issues for debate.

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17 Responses to “Constitutional Issues Forum”

  1. david (2,556 comments) says:

    And the “debate” will be held where? when? and will it be open for all to participate? or will it be open to those within the beltway, the political elitists and sectional groups with vested interest in incorporating certain principles to the exclusion of others.

    The whole thing smells of a jack-up

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  2. Redbaiter (8,551 comments) says:

    I could be quite wrong on this, but I feel that there has never been a time in NZ’s history when politicians and parliament have been held in such low esteem.

    I look at the lists of who is in parliament, in opposition or government, or in coalition, and honestly it is just horrifying.

    Statists, seat warmers, self promoters, cheats and liars, frauds, racists, power seekers and just general all round no-hopers with people I might respect in extremely short supply.

    At the same time, I feel our civil society is at its lowest point ever too, with a corrupt mainstream media, who we see time and time again trying to deceive us on political issues. An education system totally perverted to the cause of the teacher’s unions. Our young ignorant of history because the educators don’t think they need to know it.

    Racism is endemic in our justice and legal and parliamentary systems. Separatism is apparently the default political position for so many of our parliamentary representatives and government agencies.

    In short, its just not the time at all for any so called “review” of constitutional issues. With the state of our government and our society in such obvious disrepair, I would not trust parliament and its representatives or its proxies to paint my front fence let alone initiate a written constitution.

    Just go away and forget all about it please.

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  3. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    The issue raised by Horan’s expulsion is a trivial irrelevance.

    Enshrining race-based privilege is not.

    That’s what’s happening.

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  4. MT_Tinman (3,136 comments) says:

    Many of those issues for debate scare the hell out of me, none more so than having a group of politically appointed judges deciding whether a law is legitimate or not.

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  5. Yvette (2,781 comments) says:

    This doesn’t look good for a discussion on a written constitution – or is it just inane reporting by Audrey Young?
    She starts with –
    The issue of whether MP Brendan Horan should resign from Parliament now his party has expelled him COULD be part of the legitimate public “conversation” on a wide range of issues relevant to New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements.

    Halfway down the article is the guts of it –
    Among the other issues the panel wants discussed is whether Maori representation in local government should be guaranteed, whether the Treaty of Waitangi should be entrenched in law, if the Bill of Rights Act should be made higher law (enabling the courts to invalidate laws that are inconsistent with it), the size of Parliament and the length of the parliamentary terms, and whether New Zealand Zealand should have a written constitution.

    Probably the most important item is last
    Then an incomplete list of the panel
    Not a promising start
    But nobody really had any great expectations, did they?
    Merde

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  6. peterwn (3,243 comments) says:

    Any ‘constitutional’ legislation would require support from 75% of MP’s or 75% majority in a referendum. Geoffrey Palmer was hoping his Bill of Rights legislation in the late 1980’s would gain that amount of support, but it failed to, so he had to settle for legislation passed by a simple majority which is what we have today. Parliament can repeal or amend it, but from ‘machinery’ amendments this would cause some uproar. Any attempt to ‘enshrine’ the Treaty of Waitangi into ‘constitutional’ legislation would run into stiff opposition, especially since its meaning and interpreations are not really clear. It faces the ‘Humpty Dumpty’ problem where Humpty declared that words mean what he said they meant.

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  7. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Redbaiter – Its not often I agree with your rants – but youre right this time.

    Add to the picture the dismal state of leadership in NZ (examples just recently are: mainzeal, Solid energy, Christchurch school principal, School principal up north who protected a child molester, etc, etc….its just never stops.)

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  8. Griff (7,517 comments) says:

    The prominence of maori educators in the list of missing names is a wake up to those who think this review is honestly asking questions.

    Dr Leonie Pihama (Te Ātiawa, Ngā Māhanga a Tairi, Ngāti Māhanga)

    Dr Pihama is a senior Māori researcher in Māori and Indigenous education with a focus on Kaupapa Māori. She has lectured in policy analysis, Māori women’s issues, and representation of indigenous people, and was the Director of the International Research Institute for Māori and Indigenous Education at the University of Auckland. Dr Pihama is a staunch advocate of Kaupapa Māori, and has also been involved in film and media production, and served on the Māori Television Board during its establishment phase.

    Hinurewa Poutu (Ngāti Rangi, Te Āti Haunui a Pāpārangi, Ngāti Maniapoto)

    Ms Poutu is a doctoral student at Massey University and a teacher at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Mana Tamariki. She is a graduate of kura kaupapa Māori, with an academic and work record in studying, researching and teaching te reo Māori. Ms Poutu also has journalism experience and has worked as a Māori language media consultant.
    Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou)

    Professor Smith is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) and a Professor of Education and Māori Development and the University of Waikato. Professor Smith is an internationally renowned author, and authority on Māori and Indigenous research and education. She has worked as a Treaty negotiator for Ngāti Porou, and was Deputy Chair of Te Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Professor Smith is also a member of the Marsden Fund Council and the Health Research Council.

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  9. PaulL (5,971 comments) says:

    No need for a constitutional issues forum, I can answer all of those just fine.

    1. Should Brendan Hogan resign? Yes. Should there be a law that forces him to? No.
    2. Should be Maori representation be guaranteed? Only to the extent that Maori people vote for other Maori people. That is to say, no legal guarantee, but there are a lot of Maori voters, so if those people vote for Maori then it’ll work out just fine. If they don’t vote for Maori, they clearly don’t think Maori representation is a good idea.
    3. Should the Treaty of Waitangi be entrenched? Yes, so long as it’s the actual wording in the English translation. The “principles” should not be entrenched.
    4. Should the Bill of Rights be higher law? Yes it should, but only if the Bill of Rights is sensible. The process of entrenching this would likely result in stuff that I don’t consider to be rights becoming “rights.” On that basis, whilst this is a good idea, it’s not practical.
    5. Size of parliament. No need for change. Perhaps consider changing the fact that the South Island is the base from which everything else is calculated – so the list seats are reducing over time.
    6. Length of term. 4 years, needs a referendum though, no point in having a constitutional review for that.
    7. Written constitution. Same as 4. Good idea, not practical.

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  10. Silly Will Bunions (143 comments) says:

    Yes, Excellent issues for debate.

    Problem is that the Constitutional Advisory Panel never allow anyone to speak for the “other” side; no-one from the leave-the-treaty-out-of-the-constitution side, no-one from the “equal rights for all New Zealanders” side, no-one from the “like we’ve told you FOUR times already, we don’t need a written constitution other than the one we already have” side.

    This whole process is a stitch-up to appease more and more grumpy never-ending grieving Maori. There will be nothing in it that is good for ordinary New Zealanders.

    Nothing!

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  11. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    Re Brendan Horan –

    Couldn’t we avoid the problem by simply giving parliamentary parties the ability to sack list MPs from Parliament, and allowing unlimited rolling subs for list MPs who resign / are sacked, provided there are enough reserves on the Party’s election-night List to sub on?

    There is no need for a by-election for Horan as list MPs are not chosen by an electorate to represent their interests. They are merely elected as bums on seats for Party X or Party Y’s manifesto. As such it hardly matters what his name is or what he looks like.

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  12. PaulL (5,971 comments) says:

    Better still RRM, surely the party leader could just hold proxy votes that total the the number of theoretical list seats they have, and could get all the salary that would be paid to those members (bulk funding) and could then have whomever they want turn up to particular debates or events so as to maximise their advantage? We could have MPs on short term contracts for specific outcomes or issues. It’d be brilliant, particularly for Winston, who could then just be a party of 1, drinking all the pay, and having 7 votes or whatever he gets.

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  13. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    They’ve got it all back to front. Instead of approaching the problem as a modification to the existing system, the constitutional issues should be looked at from the ground up. Do New Zealanders want a lawful system, or are the happy with a system without any lawful basis which acts on assumed authority? Should judges be immune to political issues, or should they be put in the position where they must commit fraud because maintaining the status quo is seen to be a necessity? Should the system be theistic or atheistic in terms of the common law?

    The general disenchantment that Redbaiter mentioned is due, in my opinion, to the gradual but never-ending impositions on the lives of ordinary New Zealanders. The law should not be a burden, but the civil system is not capable of any other behaviour.

    Finding a remedy to the constitutional problem involves public awareness of the fundamental constitutional issues. Unless people are aware of the way that the system actually works, they are in no position to fix it or replace it. The fundamental constitution issue is the role of common law. Common law is more than case law, but the civil state will not acknowledge this because of the philosophical gulf between civil law and the root of common law. Consequently it is unlikely that a state sponsored forum will present any opportunity for a remedy. What remains is for people to get informed and get proactive.

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  14. Roflcopter (456 comments) says:

    http://www.ourconstitution.org.nz

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  15. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    From ourconstitution.org.nz:

    The Queen of New Zealand is our head of state. She is represented in New Zealand by the Governor-General. The head of state and the Governor-General act according to New Zealand law and on the advice of the Prime Minister and Ministers.

    Acts like honouring Jimmy Saville with an OBE?

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/379792/Jimmy-Savile-s-Satanic-ritual

    “There is a substantial amount of information to show Savile was invited to Satanic rituals in Whitby on a number of occasions.”

    “From what I understand, this was not so much serious Satanic ritual, but celebrities and local dignitaries dancing around naked with a Satanic theme going on.”

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  16. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Let them introduce their constitution, and enshrine in it the most leftist, welfarist, utopian, eco-fascist, neo-apartheid dream nonsense.

    After that we can stage a revolution and start afresh.

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  17. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    After that we can stage a revolution and start afresh.

    Why wait? The first step is to stop supporting it.

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