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Review of New Zealand’s Constitutional Arrangements

The Human Rights Commission released its submission to the Constitutional Advisory Panel on its review of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements in 2013.

The Commission believes that people, as rights-holders, should be at the centre of any constitutional change in New Zealand. New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements would be enhanced by strengthening human rights protections and increasing recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Recommendation to the Panel

The Commission made a series of detailed recommendations to the Panel. Among these, the Commission advocated for:

  • a continued, longer conversation on constitutional matters
  • the long-term development of a Treaty of Waitangi-based constitution to be developed by the Treaty partners to their mutual satisfaction
  • interim protection for the Treaty of Waitangi in the form of a Treaty of Waitangi Act that puts both texts of the Treaty into New Zealand law
  • incorporation of all civil and political rights in to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (NZBORA)
  • explicit statutory recognition of economic, social and cultural rights, including the availability of judicial remedies and alternative dispute resolution
  • adding an equality provision to NZBORA
  • specific legislative protection of property rights
  • stronger protections to ensure better human rights compliance via a range of mechanisms
  • entrenchment of the NZBORA
  • enhancing political participation via a range of specified mechanisms

Read the submission