- The Debate
- Get involved
- Constitutional review
- The Treaty of Waitangi
- Commonwealth membership
- Common Cause
The government has established a Constitutional review to "consider constitutional issues". This review is meant to:
- stimulate public debate and awareness of New Zealand's constitutional arrangements and issues arising;
- seek the views of all New Zealanders (individuals, groups and organisations), including those of Māori (iwi, hapū, whānau) in ways that reflect the partnership model and are responsive to Māori consultation preferences;
- understand New Zealanders' perspectives on our constitutional arrangements, including the range of topical issues requiring further discussion, debate and policy consideration; and then
- identify whether any further consideration of the issues is desirable, and if so, which issues.
While a New Zealand republic does not feature in the Cabinet paper's terms of reference for the review, the Republican Movement believes that it should be part of the review.
Who's involved in the review?
The review itself was set up as part of the Māori Party - National Party supply and confidence agreement following the 2008 general election. Māori Party co-leader and Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples leads the Māori Party side of the review, while Deputy Prime Minister Bill English leads the National Party side of the review. Together they have joint ministerial responsibility for "Consideration of Constitutional Issues".
A "cross-party" reference group has been formed with MPs nominated from each party, along with the "Constitutional Advisory Panel" (CAP).
Members of the CAP are:
- Co-chairs: Emeritus Professor John Burrows, Sir Tipene O'Regan
- Members: Peter Chin, Deborah Coddington, Michael Cullen, John Luxton, Bernice Mene, Leonie Pihama, Hinurewa Poutu, Linda Smith, Peter Tennent, and Ranginui Walker.
The cross-party group of MPs includes:
- Amy Adams (National)
- Hilary Calvert (Act)*
- Peter Dunne (UnitedFuture)
- Rahui Katene (Maori)*
- David Parker (Labour)
- Meteria Turei (Greens)
*Hilary Calvert and Rahui Katene lost their seats at the 2011 election.
What are the time frames for the review?
The review itself will end in "late 2013", a total of 3 years. The review will be broken down into six month "stages". Bill English and Dr Pita Sharples will report back to Cabinet every six months. The review will go on hiatus for the 2011 general election.
Stage one (December 2010 - approx. June 2011): Clarifying constitutional issues for consideration and preparing a "strategy for public engagement";[Completed] Hiatus for 2011 general election (potentially August / November 2011);
- Stage two (approx. start of 2012 - July 2012): "Information and education program" and "Public Discussion Program" ;
- Stage three (approx. July 2012 - early 2013): "identify and recommend to Cabinet whether further consideration of particular issues is desirable."
- Stage four (approx. early 2012 - "end of" 2013): Report of the constitutional review and further actions (government to react within six months - general election in 2014).
Under the National-Maori Party agreement signed in 2011 (following the general election), the recommendations are to be delivered by September 2013.
Where and when will public consultation be held?
In July 2012 the Constitutional Advisory Panel (see above) announced its "engagement strategy". This strategy is divided into stages:
- March - July 2012: Preparing the ground:- engaging with individuals, groups;
- July 2012 - November 2012: Publicly by the panel;
- December 2012 - July 2013: Thinking together - (i.e. public submissions to the review)
- August 2013 - September 2013: Deliberation (reporting to cross-party group and Ministers by 2013);
- September - December 2013: Summary / reporting
The 2005 Constitutional Inquiry was held by a "Constitutional Arrangements Committee" - select committee of parliament - so accepted submissions from the public as select committees do.
What outcomes will the review have?
Whether any change eventuates from the review depends on the Government's political will to implement its recommendations. The Government never implemented the report of the 2005 Constitutional Inquiry, for example.
The Cabinet paper does mention one important point:
"...elements of the constitutional framework should only be decided after securing broad cross-party agreement in the House or the majority support of voters at a referendum."
This is an important point, as major constitutional changes have occurred in the past (the abolition of the Legislative Council in 1951, the Constitution Act 1986 and creation of the Supreme Court in 2003) without reference to a parliamentary super-majority or a public referendum. The Republican Movement believes a New Zealand republic should be established only by a referendum.
Here's how you can get involved in the Constitutional review:
- Join the Republican Movement and be a part of the campaign for a New Zealand republic with an independent head of State;
- Sign up for our newsletter and media releases.
- The Republican Movements policy statement developed for the constitutional review.
- Empower NZ - website by the Sustainable Futures Trust on the review, to build engagement in the review by younger New Zealanders.
- Ministry of Justice website on the Constitutional Review
- Cabinet Paper on the Constitutional review (Scoop.co.nz)
- The Constitutional Advisory Panel's engagement strategy.
- Republican Movement media release on the Constitutional review: let's put a New Zealand republic on the agenda
- Blog posts on the Constitutional review
- Republican Movement page on the Constitutional Review (2005)
- Report of the Constitutional Arrangements Committee (2005 Constitutional Inquiry)