I am delighted with the application in the High Court for a judicial review of the Attorney General’s decision to notify Parliament that the Electoral Finance Bill does not breach the Bill of Rights.
That advice, based on a Crown Law office opinion, has been relied on heavily by the Government to discredit submissions from the Human Rights Commission and the NZ Law Society (and many individual lawyers) that the Electoral Finance Bill does breach the Bill of Rights. In fact the Human Rights Commission correctly labels it a “dramatic assault” of two of our treasured freedoms – speech and political participation.
All New Zealanders should be grateful to Grey Power, the Sensible Sentencing Trust, John Boscawen and Rodney Hide that the are going to give us the opportunity to have a judicial ruling on who is right – does the EFB breach the Bill of Rights.
The court can not stop the Bill. Parliament is supreme. But if it finds that the Attorney-General was wrong in the Crown Law assertion there is no breach, then that will have a powerful and hopefully persuasive effect on MPs.
The initial court hearing is on Monday. I plan to be there.