Consider Constitutional Change Carefully

Press Release – Maxim Institute

“Many people assume that New Zealand does not have a constitution or at least that it lacks a proper constitution,” says Dr Richard Ekins of the Faculty of Law at The University of Auckland.

media release

Friday 23 MARCH 2012
Consider Constitutional Change Carefully

“Many people assume that New Zealand does not have a constitution or at least that it lacks a proper constitution,” says Dr Richard Ekins of the Faculty of Law at The University of Auckland.

New Zealand’s constitution is now officially under review. The government’s recently appointed Constitutional Advisory Panel will soon begin a programme of public consultation about our constitutional arrangements.

In advance of this consultation, Dr Ekins is giving a series of lectures hosted by the Maxim Institute aimed at preparing New Zealanders for the constitutional review. He will address the questions of what constitutions are and what they are for, what is distinctive about New Zealand’s constitution, and the principles to consider when contemplating constitutional change.

“A well-formed constitution creates, allocates and disciplines the exercise of public power,” says Dr Ekins. “There is more than one form of constitution, but any good constitution will help a political community live well.”

The review will consider a range of questions including the length of the parliamentary term, the size of Parliament, the constitutional status of the Treaty of Waitangi and the M?ori seats, and whether New Zealand should adopt a written constitution.

“For the review to go well,” argues Dr Ekins, “New Zealanders and their representatives must ask the right questions and think carefully about what our constitution is now, about what it should be in the future and about how and why it is reasonable to change the constitution.”
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