The panel looking at New Zealand's constitutional
arrangements says it did not find strong support for
republicanism in the 120 meetings it held and 5259 written
submissions it received.
It said one grouping wanted a republican model and thought an
elected president would better reflect democratic ideals.
But another body of opinion suggested that under the system
of constitutional monarchy, with the Queen as head of state,
NZ has had a stable, well-functioning democracy.
Change was not desirable in the eyes of that grouping because
there was no certainty that another model would operate as
"The panel did not identify strong support for a change to a
presidential republic," the panel's report said.
The Constitutional Review Panel has delivered its final
report to the Government and its main recommendation is that
the "conversation" about New Zealand's constitutional
The panel says there was no broad support for a written
constitution but suggests there could be good in putting the
different parts of the constitution into a single law.
On the issue of the Treaty of Waitangi, the panel wants the
Government to examine options for the future role of the
Treaty. It also wants a Treaty education strategy.
In identifying subjects for further discussion the panel
points to potentially far-reaching issues such as requiring
all laws to be consistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights
The panel also suggests discussion on extending the rights
covered by the act to include economic, social and cultural
rights, property rights and environmental rights. At present,
protections under the Bill of Rights include democratic and
civil rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion,
protections against discrimination, and protections against
unreasonable search and seizure.
The panel was set up under the terms of the confidence and
supply agreement between the Maori Party and National. Its
work has been overseen by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English
and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.
The panel was co-chaired by Sir Tipene O'Regan and Emeritus
Professor John Burrows.
- Audrey Young of the New Zealand Herald