Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson today announced the appointment of Hon Kate Wilkinson of Christchurch and the reappointment of Ms Kathryn Edmonds of Wellington as Commissioners of the Environment Court, both for a five year term.National has already stacked the Human Rights Review Tribunal with its cronies; now they seem to be moving onto the Environment Court. But putting cronies on the bench corrupts the judiciary and undermines its independence. It invites people to think that decisions of the court are made on political grounds rather than on the merits, bringing the entire system into disrepute. That may be the goal of the exercise, or National simply may not care; either way their appointment damages the courts and pisses on our constitutional norms.
Hon Kate Wilkinson was a lawyer for 26 years prior to entering Parliament in 2005. As a lawyer she was involved in property, commercial and corporate areas of law. She was Minister of Conservation from 2009 to 2013 and was responsible for the Government’s conservation aspects of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). She was also involved in meeting the Crown’s obligations to Māori in Treaty settlement processes.