8/10/2001: Hawkes Bay Today: Scepticism over ending links to Privy Council.

Opposition parties were last night skeptical about the Government making any rapid progress toward ending New Zealand’s links with the Privy Council, the countries ultimate court of appeal, based in New Zealand.

            Attorney General Margeret Wilson said on Friday she was setting up an advisory committee to work on a model for a final court of appeal, based in New Zealand.  Prime Minister Helen Clark said it was an “absolute given” that appeals to the Privy Council would one day be abolished, in the same way it was inevitable that New Zealand would one day become a republic.

            Miss Clark has always held those views, and has often expressed them. She has suggested there could be a supreme court, sitting about the present Court of Appeal.

            Nationals Justice spokesman Wayne Mapp said he understood Ms Wilson would put a paper to cabinet before the end of the year, and legislation was possible next year.

            “Whether” it’s passed into law is another question … Nationals Fundamental stance is that until it can be demonstrated that the principal users of the Privy Council want to change, then we should stick with the Privy Council,” he said.

            The principal users were big business firms, manufacturers and accounting firms. “I would be skeptical about this being on a fast track,” Dr Mapp said. The drive to amend this is about republicanism more than anything else but the two are not the same. Singapore retained the Privy Council for 40years after it became a republic.”