Finlayson on Section 7 reports

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

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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