On TV One News tonight, PM Helen Clark launched what can only be called a personal attack on a Maori Land Court Judge, because the Judge is letting a foreshore claim proceed.
She first attacked the decision to schedule the case, on the grounds that the Judge should be aware the Government plans to change the law, and also that there is an appeal to the Privy Council.
On the first point, it is outraegous to suggest a Judge should not follow the law, on the basis of press releases from Ministers saying they will change it. Also add on the fact it is highly dubious if the Government even has the numbers for a change.
The appeal to the Privy Council does have some more substance, but the hypocrisy is that the Government has refused to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal. If they has announced they would do so, it may have saved many problems, but they refused because it would make them look stupid as they are abolishing appeals to it. So the appeal is only from the Marlborough District Council.
Finally the PM suggested the Judge was conflicted due to her Iwi affiliation, and should not have even scheduled the case (the Judge will recuse herself from sitting to hear it). Regardless of the merits of ones view, I can not recall since Muldoon when you have had a PM attack a Judge’s ethics in public, rather than filing a private complaint.
You can really tell that the heat is on.