Attorney-General Finlayson

The Herald profiles the new Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson:

“I’ve always thought it was a really interesting job. As I’ve got involved in law more and more, you see that the poor old Attorney-General is the most-sued person in the realm and you see the sort of responsibilities he or she has.

“It’s an ancient office and it has huge responsibilities. I regard it as, frankly, the highlight of my career to get the job.”

Chris will be a very popular choice within the legal fraternity. He is or was a member of the High Court’s Rules Committee and has appeared before the Privy Council close to a dozen times.

An advocate for constitutional convention, Mr Finlayson says he has a “pragmatic rather than an emotional view” on republicanism. His own view is that “the time will come” for New Zealand, especially given Australia’s move in that direction under the Rudd Government.

“I’m very loyal to the current monarch but I’d be in the camp that says on the demise of the Queen there will be a number of countries in the Commonwealth that will be reviewing their constitutional arrangements and that’s probably a good thing. If so, it won’t be an anti-British thing. It’s just New Zealand’s evolution as a country.”

Sounds sensible.

Mr Finlayson is also likely to be involved in any review of electoral finance laws after his party repeals the Electoral Finance Act, although the exact plans are “something the Cabinet will have to look at”.

“What I really disliked about that act was this notion of third parties, that the public and representatives of the public were some kind of interlopers into the political game which was really for the politicians.

“I found that profoundly offensive. We are the servants. It’s the public’s electoral system.”

Absolutely. Labour and its allies tried to hijack it for their own gain.

It was also “atrociously drafted”. For the law reform fanatic who has worked for 30 years to become the Attorney-General, that is perhaps its worst sin of all.

Is there a word beyond atricious?

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