Constitution

National's decision to collapse a select committee meeting to make some sort of point may or may not be good politics. But it is bad for our parliamentary processes and long term constitutional culture. 

On Wednesday something happened in Parliament that was on its face a clever but petty political move designed to capture headlines, yet at a deeper level ought to concern anybody interested in how New Zealand governs itself. Forgive me while I set the scene with some bureaucratic jargon before I tell you why I think what happened matters.

Why is the Crown fighting a court case it knows it is very unlikely to win? Because doing so stops it from having to face cases it really would prefer not to deal with.

[Update: see important revisory note at post's end!]

Back in September I wrote this post about a Supreme Court decision that found quite a number of prisoners have been unlawfully detained because The Department of Corrections incorrectly had calculated their release dates.

Today the right thing was done for two individuals by public officials who were not forced into doing so. Let's just take a moment to savour an occasion when things worked the way they should.

Back in June I wrote a post about the Ombudsman's pretty damning report on the State Services Commission (SSC) Inquiry into leaked MFAT documents, and in particular the way that this Inquiry treated a MFAT employee, Mr Derek Leask.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Dr Andrew Butler propose that New Zealand should have a written constitution. If you're in Dunedin this Wednesday night, come along to the Museum and hear why.

As has been noted previously on this blog, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Dr Andrew Butler  have published a book advocating that New Zealand enact a “written” constitution.

A couple of interesting developments - one on the other side of the world and one here at home. Turns out that the UK's Parliament is still sovereign (who knew?). And I think Gareth Morgan should be given more praise than scorn for wanting to inject some thinking into New Zealand's political scene.