Friday, October 1, 2010

Some thoughts about Structure

I would like to share my thoughts about how government could be structured in our new republic

There is an urgent need for New Zealand to have a written constitution to

· Guarantee equal rights for all before the law and

· Curb the excesses of executive power.

The Labour Government’s shameful act of legitimising its breaches of Electoral Law with retrospective legislation is just one recent example of unbridled executive power. New Zealanders have no way to challenge or seek redress from excessive and unjustified acts of the executive. A written constitution will change this.

The Constitution will

· become our founding document

· set out the basic principles upon which our democratic system of government is based

· guarantee equality for all before the law

· set out the rights of all residents in New Zealand

· set out the responsibilities of all residents in New Zealand

· affirm the status of New Zealand as one nation inhabited by different peoples

· Define the structure and operation of our system of government.

The Treaty of Waitangi and Reconciliation

I acknowledge that there are historical grievances arising from breaches of the Treaty by the Crown. We should reconcile these grievances on a fair and final basis so that we can all move forward together under our new constitution.

Structure of Government

I believe that the development of New Zealand as a strong independent nation is hamstrung by our status as a constitutional monarchy.

Paying allegiance to a foreign monarch in another hemisphere and following the anachronistic practices of the imported Westminster system are denying New Zealanders the opportunity to claim their identity as a modern forward-looking nation in the South Pacific.

We believe that New Zealand must claim this identity now by becoming a republic.

The Republic of New Zealand Party proposes a presidential model consisting of three distinct arms of government

· the Executive

· the Legislature

· the Judiciary

The Presidency

The President will form and lead the Executive

The President will be commander in chief of the armed forces

The President will be elected for a four-year term by popular vote and allowed a maximum of two four year terms

Every candidate for President must be a New Zealand citizen and have resided in New Zealand for at least 10 years.

Every candidate for President will select a running mate who will become Vice President if the Presidential candidate who chose him/her wins the election.

Every candidate for Vice President must be a New Zealand citizen and have resided in New Zealand for 10 years.

The President will form the administration by nominating members of the Cabinet,

Members of the Cabinet will be known as Secretaries, e.g. The Secretary of Defence, The Secretary of Economic Development.

Cabinet members do not have to come from the legislature.

The President will have the power to veto legislation passed by the Legislature unless passed by two thirds of members.

The Legislature

The Republic of New Zealand will have a unicameral legislature

The legislature will be the only arm of government with legislative powers

Policy proposals from the Executive will have to be approved by the legislature to become law.

The legislature will be able to initiate legislation

The legislature will review and vote on the President’s nominations for Cabinet

The legislature will review the President’s nominations for Judges of the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court

The legislature will have powers to impeach the President (2/3 vote of representatives required)

The Basis for Representation

New Zealand will be divided into electoral districts based on one representative per 40,000 population.

All electors will register on the General Roll

Each representative will represent an electoral district.

The voting system for deciding representatives will be STV.

The legislative term will be three years

There will be a term limitation of four terms for members of the legislature.

The Judiciary

The Judiciary will be the guardian of the constitution

The court system will consist of a

· Supreme Court

· Court of Appeal

· High Court

· District Court

The President will nominate candidates for the bench in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court.

Nominations for the bench in these courts will be reviewed and voted on by members of the legislature

Candidates approved will be appointed for a five-year term.

A second and last term in any one court must be approved by the legislature

Judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal who have served two terms will be eligible for appointment to a higher court.

District Court judges will be elected by registered electors in the community their court serves.

Justices of the Peace will be elected by registered electors in the community their court serves

The term of office for District Court Judges and Justices of the Peace will be 4 years.

A maximum of two four terms will be permitted

District Court Judges who have served two terms will be eligible for appointment to a higher court.

Constitutional Matters

In the first instance actions against the state citing the constitution will be heard in the High Court, but there will be a right of appeal to the Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court as the final arbiter

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let's get on with it

A Republic is inevitable and we do need to get on with it. It is time to overcome our awkward adolescence.

Speaking to people before the 2008 elections it is clear that a groundswell of republican sentiment is growing here. According to the BBC, 42% of New Zealanders think we should be a republic.

The galvanizing is already coming from the bottom up. It will not develop from the top down because both Labour and National have a vested interest in delay. Key has just leapt backwards with the reinstatement of royal honours to placate his conservatives. Goff supports Maori separatism and the development of a nation within a nation.

New Zealanders are signalling a New Start with a centrist vision. They are tired of the same old left to right seesaw. We need
  • A Constitution that makes all equal in law
  • Prompt reconciliation of Maori grievances
  • A new flag without the union jack
  • Direct democracy with binding referendums
  • Our families restored
  • Our assets protected
  • Incentives for innovation and hard work
  • And full on concentration on alternative energy.

We don't need Clayton's Republicans like Peter Dunne. He simply wants to replace the Governor General with a New Zealand Head of State and leave everything else as it is. This is not a republic. The problem with our present system is the unchallengeable power of the Executive to ramrod things through. If you don't believe me, look at what National is doing now with the Supercity Bill. They rammed it through Parliament under urgency, even though 80% of Aucklanders oppose it. Labour's retrospective legislation to wipe away its breaches of electoral law is another example. That legislation was unchallengeable in the courts because we don't have a written constitution. We so blindly believe in the superiority of the Westminster system and arrogantly criticise the Americans. Yet they have a constitution and a court that can review legislation. They also have the separation of powers, a unique system where the executive, the legislature and judiciary watch each other. Did Congress force Nixon to resign? You bet it did. We have no such protections here.

It is time for New Zealand (Aotearoa) to claim maturity as a nation. It's time to say bye bye to the monarchy, bye bye Governor General, bye bye to Westminster and hello to the democratic Republic of New Zealand.

Monday, April 13, 2009

India Supreme

Congratulations to the Indian Cricket team. They definitely out played the New Zealand team throughout the tour, except for the second test. In that test we saw the emergence of Jess Ryder as a genuine test batsman. Although New Zealand lost it was a pleasure to see the sublime batting skills of Tendukhar, possibly for the last time in New Zealand. Seewag and Dravid also performed well as did the Indian bowlers. There's no doubt about it. India now is a world class team and can look forward to beating any one they take on. It's great to see good cricket.
I am not despondent about the results this summer. The New Zealand team shows real potential and I'm looking forward to improved performances next summer.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Big plunge backwards

The National Government's decision to reinstate knights and dames into our honours system is a big plunge backwards.
Nearly a decade ago we dropped this import from Britain and developed our own honours system.
The idea was to reflect the growing maturity of our nation and us as New Zealanders by departing from our colonial past.
Now the National Government has bowed to the pressure of its hard core conservatives and plunged us back 20 years or more.
No wonder many countries around the world have a hard time taking us seriously when we proclaim ourselves as an independent and sovereign nation. We certainly don't act like one.