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Dr Muriel Newman

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Constitution report death by a thousand cuts

Press Release: Independent Constitutional Review Panel

The government’s Constitutional Advisory Panel report, merely replaces instant execution with death by a thousand cuts, according to David Round, the chair of the private Independent Constitutional Review Panel.

Mr Round said that the report “still proposes Treaty indoctrination for non-believers, ‘improving’ Maori representation in a national parliament where Maori are very adequately represented now, guaranteeing ‘cultural rights’, and giving un-elected judges the power to condemn Acts of Parliament if they fail to recognise such rights.”

“And of course, an ongoing ‘conversation’ about the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in our national life. We all know the agenda behind that”, he said.

“Certainly, the report does not propose a separate Maori-only House of Parliament or mention of the Treaty in a written constitution right away”, Mr Round said.

“We think that we in the Independent Constitutional Review Panel must take some of the credit for that. There was clearly a strong desire among the government-appointed panel’s Maori members for such recommendations. They might well have eventuated had the official panel not known that we were watching,” he said.

“There must have been some furious debates among the government-appointed members before this comparatively bland report appeared,” Mr Round speculated.

Despite clear public opposition, the government-appointed panel’s report was evidence that agitation for Maori constitutional privilege was going to continue for some time yet, Mr Round said.

The independent panel’s other members are professors Martin Devlin, Elizabeth Rata and James Allan, Dr Muriel Newman and Mike Butler.


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