Although our current constitution act of 1986 includes most principles such as voting and that government budget must be approved by parliament.1 What I and many New Zealanders wish to see is the addition of a set of guidelines the executive authority should abide by. Like in society all citizens must not offend against the state, likewise wouldn’t it be appropriate to have rules in place, so that the state can not offend against the citizens? As Geoffrey and Matthew palmer state in Bridled power;
“The act is, however, still only a basic guide to the composition and powers of even the key institutions of government.”
G.P, M.P Bridled Power (Oxford University Press 1997) pg5
As a small nation the current constitution seems to be upholding the virtues of our politicians, however as time progresses and society develops there will be a need for a more sophisticated constitution that outlines a more distinct guide to the powers and authority over New Zealand’s institutions.
Geoffrey Palmer has also expressed his concerns regarding the political system of New Zealand. Checks that could and should be in place to protect New Zealanders. Parliament’s law-making powers should be limited so that they do not ever take away fundamental human rights in future and present legislation making, such as the right people have to go to court to have their rights determined.
“… to protect the citizen against the enlargement of executive power and to safeguard basic rights which majorities ought not to disregard-then some form of judicial authority would need to be given power to interpret constitutional provisions…”
Stephen Levine, The New Zealand Political System (George Allen & Unwin Australia Pty Ltd 1979) pg29
The current constitution needs to be implemented to include the prevention of the breach of citizen’s rights. A liberty that we as citizens of New Zealand should not be stripped of. Courts need to be given the discretion to question legislation with the aid of a constitution to enforce it’s judicial responsibility to safeguard the basic rights of New Zealanders.
“It is not always easy to judge when the language of the act may apply but it certainly provides a flexible and creative means of protecting the rights of New Zealanders. It does that by holding the state to certain fundamental standards defined by the law. “
(G.F, Constitution in crisis 1992: pg. 64)
The Westminster act passed by the United Kingdom was a step for New Zealand to gain independence and our first constitution. However the constitution was only changed in 1986. The constitution act itself is not entrenched and can be repealed at any time, I feel fails to represent any solid commitment from the members of parliament to incorporate a set of rules that they should abide by. Since we have already separated ourselves from Britain along with the abolition of the legislative council. The introduction of a constitution that has judiciary authority and retains the civil liberties of New Zealanders would be most beneficial, the courts can interpret the law to regulating legislation in New…