Finlayson on Section 7 reports

February 10th, 2013 at 1:41 pm by David Farrar

I got sent a link to this video of as Attorney-General talking about his role in advising Parliament under Section 7 of the if a proposed law is unjustifiably inconsistent with the .

I thought at first it would be one for the policy wonks only, but I think many might enjoy his typically blunt appraisals. Chris also reveals that he doesn’t just submit whatever the Ministry of Justice or Crown Law says on a bill, but will often draft his own reports or majorly rewrite their drafts.

Some quotes:

  • also (report) on a couple of members’ bill which are shockers like Holly Walker’s ridiculous lobby legislation which seems to breach almost every provision of the Bill of Rights
  • How the disgraceful Foreshore & Seabed legislation avoided a Section 7 report beats me
  • The Electoral Finance Bill, which was frankly a Stalinist piece of legislation introduced by Helen Clark in her third term to pay the National Party back for doing so well at the 2005 election, breached numerous provisions of the Bill of Rights yet it never received a Section 7 report.
  • This is the 19th floor of Bowen House. As you can see I look down on all of my colleagues in the Beehive … Don’t put that in the film

Chris also said that if he thinks a proposed bill is likely to get an adverse Section 7 report, some of his colleagues will then work with him to amend the bill so that it avoids conflicting with the Bill of Right Act.

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11 Responses to “Finlayson on Section 7 reports”

  1. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    Ah, so that’s how the role is supposed to be fulfilled. Its sad how successful the Clark government was at lowering standards and expectations of standards for so many positions in government.

    When can we get the one from Lockwood on Wilson?

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  2. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Kimble,

    Not hard to deduce what Chris Finlayson thinks of Michael Cullen is it?

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  3. UpandComer (525 comments) says:

    Chris is a boss.

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  4. hmmokrightitis (1,572 comments) says:

    “The Electoral Finance Bill, which was frankly a Stalinist piece of legislation introduced by Helen Clark in her third term to pay the National Party back for doing so well at the 2005 election, breached numerous provisions of the Bill of Rights yet it never received a Section 7 report.”

    Lest we forget. Ever.

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  5. Roflcopter (446 comments) says:

    This is one of the reasons why having the Bill Of Rights as supreme law would stop all that shit going down. Clarkula would never have got away with it.

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  6. calendar girl (1,203 comments) says:

    Here’s the relevant Section 7:

    “Attorney-General to report to Parliament where Bill appears to be inconsistent with Bill of Rights

    Where any Bill is introduced into the House of Representatives, the Attorney-General shall,—

    (a) in the case of a Government Bill, on the introduction of that Bill; or

    (b) in any other case, as soon as practicable after the introduction of the Bill,—

    bring to the attention of the House of Representatives any provision in the Bill that appears to be inconsistent with any of the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights.”

    Mr Finlayson chooses to criticise occasions when the S. 7 provision has not been invoked by Labour in relation to certain of its own Bills (e.g. Foreshore & Seabed, Electoral Finance Bill) but the solution to the perceived problem lies in his own hands. His Government could amend the Bill of Rights Act 1990 to require a S. 7 report on all Bills presented to the House. If the Attorney-General considers that a given Bill is not “inconsistent with any of the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights”, the report could simply record that view. It would then be for the A-G to defend that legal decision if challenged politically on it.

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  7. BeaB (2,085 comments) says:

    That’s the portrait of Thomas Cromwell on the wall behind him.
    Has he been reading Wolf Hall or is this one of his heroes?

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  8. David Garrett (6,788 comments) says:

    God how I wish I could comment freely on this thread….

    But well said Calendar Girl….

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  9. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Add additional process overhead to every piece of legislation? Because its not like anyone has an issue with the efficiency of gummint as it is currently…

    Edit: it is no bloody wonder that bureaucracy has been bastardised from the improvement in efficiency it was originally intended to bring about

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  10. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    but I think many might enjoy his typically blunt appraisals

    An Attorney General should be dispassionate in his appraisal of passed or proposed legislation. Clearly Findlayson is first and foremost a politician. A bad look imo.

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  11. tvb (4,263 comments) says:

    How an AG not be political beats me. Of course an AG is political why else have the role and a member of cabinet. Various attempts are made to de politicise the role but they do not last. The purely non political functions are performed by the Solicitor General who has most of the powers of the AG.

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