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The Legal Protection of Human RightsSceptical Essays$
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Tom Campbell, K.D. Ewing, and Adam Tomkins

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606078

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606078.001.0001

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Inter-institutional ‘Rights Dialogue’ under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act

Inter-institutional ‘Rights Dialogue’ under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act

(p.87) 5 Inter-institutional ‘Rights Dialogue’ under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act
The Legal Protection of Human Rights

Andrew Geddis

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the extent to which the ‘weak-form’ New Zealand Bill of Rights model promotes a ‘culture of justification’ within public authorities and fosters a ‘dialogue’ between different institutions of government. There is no clear evidence that it has the sort of impact of the legislative process outlined in Chapter 3. Similarly, there is no substantial impact on Parliament's activities as lawmaker through rights ‘vetting’ of proposed legislation by the Attorney-General, commentary by the Human Rights Commission or post-enactment interpretation of legislation, noting that New Zealand has no parliamentary human rights committee. Indeed the New Zealand Parliament seems relaxed about passing government legislation that the Attorney-General deems incompatible with the Bill of Rights. Illustrating these contentions in connection with the Electoral Finance Act 2007, and the Misuse of Drugs (Classification of BZP) Amendment Act 2008, the chapter concludes that New Zealand shows an example of weak-form Bills of Rights which Tushnet sees as reverting to parliamentary supremacy.

Keywords:   New Zealand, Bill of Rights Act, dialogue, Declarations of Inconsistency, parliamentary supremacy

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