In a previous blog post former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer explained why he believes that a single written Constitution for New Zealand is needed. Here, he sets out the key provisions of a draft Constitution included in a new book that he has written with Dr Andrew Butler. Comments on the proposals are now being sought from the general public and it is intended that an amended document will be published in a year’s time.
On 21 September at the New Zealand parliament A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand, written by myself and Dr Andrew Butler, was launched by Grant Robertson MP. In the book it is argued that a single written Constitution for New Zealand is needed and a draft is proposed. The effort to create a conversation on these issues flows from the fact that two official reviews of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements in recent years have produced no change. We think that the absence of a model with which to engage is partly responsible for this situation.
The draft Constitution itself contains 118 articles and the text covers 43 pages. It is called Constitution Aotearoa and is based on ten principles:
- Accessibility and certainty
- Rule of law
- Democratic accountability
- Protection of the rights of people
- A sense of national identify
- A New Zealander as Head of State
- Protections against the abuse of public power
- Recognition that the Constitution belongs to the people