Jan Logie

The Rule of Law

by Jan Logie

The Law Society in its report to the UN review of human rights in New Zealand (UPR) identified 14 separate pieces of legislation, 11 in the last two years, that undermine our rule of law and fundamental human rights.

5 laws that remove the courts’ constitutional role of judicial review
• NZ Public Health and Disability Amendment Act 2012
• Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act 2010
• Taxation (Tax Administration and Remedial Matters) Act 2011
• Immigration Amendment Bill 2012
• Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010

3 laws that give unjustifiable power to the executive
• Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act 2010
• Immigration Amendment Bill 2012
• Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010

5 laws that breach the Bill of Rights Act (got negative section 7 reports from the Attorney General)
1. Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Act 2009
2. Parole (extended Supervision Orders) Amendment Act 2009
3. Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010
4. Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010
5. New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Act 2013

4 Laws that passed with serious human rights concerns
• Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Act 2013
• Corrections Amendment Act 2013
• Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (Continuation and Reform) Amendment Act 2013
• Immigration Amendment Bill 2012

And 3 more currently under consideration with serious human rights concerns
• Land Transport (Admissibility of Evidential Breath Tests) Amendment Bill 2012
• Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2012
• Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill 2013

Yesterday in response to my questions in the House the Attorney General said he agreed that the rule of law lies at the very foundation of a free and democratic society and is essential for the protection of human rights but casually dismissed the Law Society’s view that a number of recent legislative measures are fundamentally in conflict with the rule of law saying:

“No, I do not agree with the Law Society. Moreover, I say, for example, in relation to section 7 reports that I provide those reports as the law officer of the Crown, and then they are made available to Parliament so that it can debate the issues. The Law Society has got the wrong end of the stick when it goes on about section 7 reports, because it does not understand the procedure set out and adopted by this Parliament for many years.”

Published in Justice & Democracy | Parliament by Jan Logie on Wed, June 26th, 2013   

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