A steady erosion of human rights in New Zealand through legislation is being accompanied by Ministerial attempts to avoid searching scrutiny of these measures, and to silence dissenting voices.
In June 2013 the Law Society reported to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council that in New Zealand, “a number of recent legislative measures are fundamentally in conflict with the rule of law” and in breach of human rights.
Increasingly, our Government is behaving like a playground bully. If Ministers will not restrain themselves from abuses of power, others need to stand up and speak out
In its editorial today, the New Zealand Herald joins Andrew Geddis in castigating the Government for a constitutional outrage – denying the family carers of people with disabilities the right to appeal against unlawful discrimination to the Human Rights Commission or the courts.
Our constitutional arrangements work on an implicit bargain - the principle of comity - that the Courts and Parliament don't mess with each other's turf. I think that bargain just got broken.
I really don't want to be "that guy" who leaps up at monotonously regular intervals to proclaim that a latest constitutional outrage marks some sort of nadir in governmental practice.
The House of Representatives' Privileges Committee is considering whether or not public servants should be given free reign to defame completely innocent individuals to their Ministers. Well, that's an exaggeration ... but read on anyway.
Upon my return to New Zealand (did I tell you I've been away? To America!?), I found a very nice letter waiting for me from the Hon Chris Finlayson.