Professor Martin Devlin
Sir Geoffrey Palmer dismisses Citizens Initiated Referenda - an important element of our democratic process - stating that we (the people) are deluded (!) if we think that referenda will improve the quality of New Zealand’s democracy.
The Waitangi “season” is here - that time of year when our political leaders embark upon their political pilgrimages of atonement and appeasement, firstly to Ratana pa, then on to Waitangi in Northland. This annual charade will culminate in the “official” Waitangi Day “celebrations”, when the northern clans traditionally indulge in their offensive, often violent and always insulting behaviour, only this time, it happens where the treaty was signed.
In any mature society, the issue of having, abiding by or amending, a country’s constitution is of national significance and importance. This facet of national life determines not only how political power will be exercised but also how it will be kept in check - matters of profound significance and therefore to be exercised with great diligence and care. A constitution is the source of ultimate or supreme law of a country, to which all other legislation is subservient.