Thursday, March 02, 2023


Last year Parliament passed the New Zealand Bill of Rights (Declarations of Inconsistency) Amendment Act 2022, amending the BORA to establish an absolute bare-minimum regime in response to the courts ruling that they had failed to do their job of protecting human rights and passed legislation inconsistent with the BORA. Shortly afterwards, the Supreme Court ruled that parliament had again failed, by allowing a voting age which was unjustifiably discriminatory. In accordance with the law, Parliament's Justice Committee has now called for submissions on the declaration of inconsistency. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, 15 March 2023, and they can be made on the Parliamentary website here.

As for what to say, I would suggest urging Parliament to uphold the BORA and lower the voting age. I'd further suggest that this should be the general rule: whenever the courts go to the effort of making a formal declaration of inconsistency, then Parliament should amend the law to be consistent. Doing otherwise - especially on the first real test of the regime - would make it clear that Parliament has no intention of performing its duties under the BORA and is hostile to human rights. It would make it clear that Hilary Calvert was not an aberration, but basicly Parliament's face on human rights. And that in turn is going to strengthen pressure to take the job of these unreliable and untrustworthy "guardians" and give it to the body which has the knowledge, stature and mana to do it properly: the courts.