NZ Constitution Party launched

The New Zealand Constitution Party was launched yesterday by Roma Warren (‘Maori of Tainui descent’) and Stephanie Pont (‘European descent’).

New Zealand Constitution Party

Only under the light of an inspired written constitution
can the governor govern, can the speaker speak, can a representative represent,
can democracy truly work and human dignity be seen.
– Roma H. Warren

Any new party has an uphill battle to get traction with the media and with the public.  This, largely a single issue party (although they have a range of general principles) that is promoting a constitution will find it hard to to find a formula for popular appeal.

First they will need to sign up 500 members so they can stand as a party under MMP. They will need to to convinced media they can be a serious contender. And they will need to get 5% of the vote to succeed in an election.

And getting into Parliament may be the easy part. Getting enough MPs and parties to agree to attempt to write a constitution would be a challenge, and getting agreement on a constitution would be harder. But good on them for trying – this may at least advance debate on a constitution.

But any serious attempt at getting a well intentioned party up and running should be given serious consideration.

An initial challenge is likely to be to deal with the attempts at discrediting and the spoiling tactics common from activists trying to protect the status quo dominance of National and Labour.

From a media release:


Aims

The aim of the NZ Constitution Party is:

  • to form a Party led government bridled to the will of the People
  • to reform, define and strengthen New Zealand’s constitutional monarchy with a codified written constitution that restores New Zealand’s jurisprudence to its historical foundations and that expands and contracts the Executive to its’ constitutional boundaries
  • to promote good political values to secure the well being of the People
  • to preserves the independence of the People by freeing the country of perpetual debt
  • to adopt a written and flexible constitution that has been framed with the consent of the People

Value of a Written Constitution

A written constitution serves the People in several ways:

  • it protects individual freedom, and its fundamental principles govern a country: by placing the government’s power in the hands of the citizens; by limiting the power of the government and; by establishing a system of checks and balances
  • it serves its primary function: of laying out the basic structure of the government according to which the people are to be governed, and; of establishing the three main organs of the government, namely, the legislature, executive and judiciary
  • it not only defines the powers allotted to each of the three main organs, but it also significantly makes a clear demarcation of the responsibilities assigned to each of them: by effectively regulating the relationship between these organs as well as the relationship between the government and its people
  • it stands superior to all the laws framed within the territorial precincts of the country, any law enacted by the ruling government has to be in conformity with the concerned constitution, and as such, the citizens would, in turn, be abiding by not just the law, but also working in sync with the demarcations of the constitution laid by the country
  • it does not simply provide a recipe for an efficient government, but also deals with limitations on power; since power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, a constitution restrict the abuse of power by those who conduct  governmental functions
  • it lays down the national goals which form the basic edifice on which the nation rests upon, such as: democracy, socialism, secularism and national integration
  • it, besides enumerating the rights of the citizens of the concerned nation, also has embedded in it the duties that all citizens are require to adhere to
  • it provides a standard for measuring or taking political action, without which, there is no logical basis for making a decision or for taking action

Principles that the Party Stands For

The Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles:

  • All political authority comes from the People and the exercise of political power must be by ordered arrangements according to a written constitution to which the People consent and in which the People have agency
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of the constitution of New Zealand
  • As the duly elected Government of New Zealand led by this Party, we shall act in accordance with the following principles –

(i) in re Te Tiriti/Treaty of Waitangi – that both Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi are the founding documents of New Zealand and should be adopted into municipal law and its terms and principles applied as far as it is practicable for the benefit of all New Zealanders;

(ii) in re resource ownership – that the natural lands, assets and resources of New Zealand belonging legally, lawfully, and rightfully to the People be managed according to ordered arrangements for their present and future benefit

(iii) in re wealth distribution – that there be a just distribution of wealth amongst the People

(iv) in re democratic freedoms and human rights – that the political, humanitarian and environmental rights of the People be upheld and protected from erosion by Party activism that’s inconsistent with international standards of decency and moral right

(v) in re self-reliance – that self-reliance, personal responsibility and responsible behavior, and proper reward for effort be nurtured

(vi) in re economic freedom – that economic freedom through an open market economy be made subordinate to the constitutional rights of the People

(vii) in re the Family – that the moral values of the Family, as the primary unit of society, be upheld, and that its interdependence with strong, caring and compassionate community organizations such as churches, schools, charitable and other support groups be encouraged

(viii) in re cultural diversity – that social harmony and national unity through respect for individual differences and cultural diversity be promoted

(ix) in re education – that the study and pursuit of old and new information and technology in all areas of the sciences be supported for identifying new ways of beneficially advancing the well being and profitability of the human experience

(x) in re separation of religion and state – that religion and state be kept separate in order to maintain the freedoms of both

(xi) in re immigration – that New Zealand’s long term infrastructure capacity building not be subordinated to the immigration of international specialists or technicians for short term gains

 

32 Comments

  1. Stuff: Single issue Constitution Party will have difficulty grabbing voters, Sir Geoffrey Palmer says

    Former Prime Minister and constitutional law expert Sir Geoffrey Palmer co-authored two books on constitutional reform in New Zealand.

    He said New Zealanders are largely unaware of how government works due, in part, to the fact that a constitution can’t be found in any one place. It’s scattered through acts of Parliament, legal documents, decisions of the courts and other legal conventions.

    He points to the UK – one of the few countries without a constitution – as an example.

    “The British have had spectacular difficulty with theirs in recent times,” Palmer said.

    But a new party would have difficulty gaining traction in the 2020 general election, he said.

    “I think it would be exceedingly difficult,” Palmer said. “You won’t do very well with a party that is single issue because people tend not to vote on single issues.”

    But we are heading to the 2020 in an unprecedented situation under MMP – small parties have dropped out of Parliament or are battling to beat the 5% threshold (Greens and NZ First). There is the potential for voter resistance to moving towards a two party parliament, so there could be an opportunity for new parties to fill the void left by fading small parties.

  2. artcroft

     /  February 7, 2019

    (i) in re Te Tiriti/Treaty of Waitangi – that both Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi are the founding documents of New Zealand and should be adopted into municipal law and its terms and principles applied as far as it is practicable for the benefit of all New Zealanders;

    This is a big step that no govt has come close to adopting (possibly because it would be very complicated explaining how this benefits all NZ’s eg: “ok, so it benefits a small minority of NZ in preference to you, but that’s because your not Maori and are racist”.)

  3. Duker

     /  February 7, 2019

    The terminology seems to come from US , where the federal government has its constitution, the states have their own constitution, and a lot of cities have their municipal charter.

    Some of the provisions seem woolly
    “in re cultural diversity – that social harmony and national unity through respect for individual differences and cultural diversity be promoted”

    It will just mean , like the US , judges will be spending time on ‘what it all means’

    In reality, its high class bullshit

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 7, 2019

      I agree, except for the ‘high-class’, which flatters it too much.

  4. Griff.

     /  February 7, 2019

    What a load of confused waffly codswollop.
    If that is what they envision a constitution to be they have a very long way to go.

    • adamsmith1922

       /  February 7, 2019

      Agree,it’s waffle, rather incoherent and the reference to democratic socialism dreadfully reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.It a political doctrine such as democratic socialism is prescribed then it is not in my view a constitution, but a political gimmick.

  5. PartisanZ

     /  February 7, 2019

    I guess it’ll be vaguely interesting to see the numbers who support this Constitution Party, but it won’t even be an indication of how many take the mahi of creating a codified Constitution seriously IMHO … TOP, and possibly others, already have it written into their policy, and all the others MUST join the kaupapa as we approach 2040 … It is inevitable …

    New Constitution … Republic … New HoState, Flag & Anthem

    Constitution-making has to be across all parties … It must be de-politicized as much as possible …

    • Duker

       /  February 7, 2019

      And no ‘law students’ doing a project for Summer School and extra credit , which this waffle has the hint of.
      Are they law Students?

  6. Corky

     /  February 7, 2019

    ”Value of a Written Constitution.”

    Under this heading were some very defining powers. Powers that would neuter any government. Powers no New Zealand government would stand for.

    Then things got a little wobbly here:

    ”It lays down the national goals which form the basic edifice on which the nation rests upon, such as: democracy, socialism, secularism and national integration.”

    I knew things could only get worse from here on. And things did.

    ”Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of the constitution of New Zealand.”

    When are people going to get – if you enshrine individuals rights- everything else falls into place.

    • Gezza

       /  February 7, 2019

      Strange launch of a New Party. I’ve been googling New Zealand Constitution Party to see what the background of the two people mentioned is and all that’s coming up is the stuff article and PG’s post.

      • Duker

         /  February 7, 2019

        Linkedin says Steph is a Student at Waikato

        Warren runs something called S.P.O.R.T INSTRUCTORS ACADEMY

      • Corky

         /  February 7, 2019

        Weird Stuff!

        • Gezza

           /  February 7, 2019

          Honestly, I’ve even tried googling Media Release New Zealand Constitution Party just now and all that comes up is this:

          I tried Facebook with no luck. Dunno where PG got that stuff for his post from. Maybe I should have been checking Twitter or Instagram or whatever.

          Unless Google has been heavied by some sinister dark & powerful cabal who thinks they’re a clear and present danger, they haven’t exactly conquered the internet or the airwaves.

          • Gezza

             /  February 7, 2019

            Wonder if they launched on Snapchat. Very flawed strategy if so… 😐

  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 7, 2019

    All prostrate before the sacred Treaty.

    • Gezza

       /  February 7, 2019

      I think you might be getting carried away a bit there. Maybe too much interaction with Mother. And I thought you weren’t religious? o_O

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 7, 2019

        I was addressing the Left in case there were any stragglers.

        • PartisanZ

           /  February 7, 2019

          But you turned out to be last in the queue Alan …

    • PartisanZ

       /  February 7, 2019

      Where’s ‘free market’ capitalism if contracts aren’t ‘sacred’?

      All abase before the profane dollar!

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 7, 2019

        A Government cannot bind its successors.

        • PartisanZ

           /  February 7, 2019

          Of course it can … What a stupid thing to say!

          What about Alliances … like we have with Five Eyes?

          What about FTAs?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  February 7, 2019

            No it can’t. Don’t you know any constitutional law. Parliament can do whatever it chooses and deal with the consequences. Courts have always confirmed that.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 7, 2019

              Yes … but, like good Righties, we could always talk about what REALLY HAPPENS in the Rightie REAL WORLD too!

  8. PartisanZ

     /  February 7, 2019

    This is the second example I’ve seen lately of an ‘initiative’ which appears to invent the idea of a new Constitution – or of acting within some kind of new Constitutional framework – without acknowledging the work of CAP, ConstitutionAotearoa and Matike Mai Aotearoa …

    This Constitution Party doesn’t outline any process by which a new Constitution will be arrived at, when, aside from the question of Te Tiriti o Waitangi’s inclusion before or after its initial adoption, Messrs Palmer & Butler have outlined a comprehensive and very ‘democratic’, grass-roots or ‘ground-up’ all-Party, public consultation process by which this can be achieved [in ‘Towards Democratic Renewal’] …

    I fear these ‘newbies’ might detract and disperse the focus from the ‘sites’ or organisations or placecesses* where and whereby the real mahi can best be done …

    * placecesses – from placecess – a process place – new word #208

  9. Finbaar Rustle

     /  February 7, 2019

    I am launching my own party before the next election. In fact I believe it is the duty of every Kiwi to stand at the next election.

    • Gezza

       /  February 7, 2019

      If you’ll stand for Parliament you’ll probably stand for anything.

      • Finbaar Rustle

         /  February 8, 2019

        Just tell your target audience what they want to hear is the key. Never challenge your prospective voters. Just confirm prejudice and ignorance. Always works.

    • PartisanZ

       /  February 7, 2019

      What’s your launch platform?

      • Finbaar Rustle

         /  February 8, 2019

        Just to show that any one can be a politician. It’s not rocket Science. It’s really all bluff.

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