February 14, 2014

Précis of the Constitutional Review Panel Report

A report on a Conversation: He Kōtuinga Kōrero mō Te Kaupapa Ture o Aotearoa

As we had predicted (and hoped), the main outcome seems to be an indication that there needs to be a much longer time span for constitutional conversations to take place, and the Panel indicates a number of ways these conversations could be resourced. ‘The strongest message the Panel heard is that the Government should actively support a continuing conversation about our country’s constitution. The Panel recommends the Government does this by promoting civics, Treaty of Waitangi and citizenship education in our schools and communities and by supporting people to inform themselves about the options for our constitution….. The Government needs to ensure people can find out more about the current constitutional arrangements and options for the future.’

On the Treaty of Waitangi, Co-chair Sir Tipene O’Regan says “The Treaty is a founding document of government in New Zealand. Having heard from a wide range of New Zealanders, the Panel’s view is that we need better information about the options for the future role of the Treaty. We can then talk constructively about developing constitutional arrangements that reflect this unique and diverse nation.”

The most significant specific recommendation in the report is about the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The Panel recommends a review of the Act to explore ways to limit Parliament’s ability to pass legislation that is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act and to protect the Act from change. The review could also look at adding more rights to the Act, including economic, social and cultural rights, environmental rights and property rights.

About the Constitutional Advisory Panel 

constitutional review panel

Members of the Panel are Dr Leonie Pihama, Hinurewa Poutu, Dr Ranginui Walker, Hon John Luxton, Deborah Coddington, Sir Tipene O’Regan (Co-chair), Emeritus Professor John Burrows QC (Co-chair), Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Peter Tennent,  Peter Chin, Bernice Mene and Hon Sir Michael Cullen.

The terms of reference included investigating what should be part of a written constitution, the role of the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori representation in Parliament and local government, the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and a range of electoral matters.

The Panel attended and supported more than 120 meetings and hui, received 5,259 written submissions and had more than 6,400 people join its Facebook page.

By Mitzi Nairn

Additional resources:

Tāmaki Tiriti Workers made a submission.

This submission to the constitutional review was developed by longtime Tamaki Tiriti Worker members Mitzi and Ray Nairn.

Aotearoa Matike Mai Independent Iwi Constitutional Working Group releases and resources

 

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