New Zealand Constitution
As it is developed the Constitution will appear on this page in draft form as a pinned post.
Comments may be posted by subscribers.
What is a constitution?
It is a document which states by declaration the fundamental rights and freedoms for the society it represents and lays out the form of governance for that society.
It receives its authority by the acceptance of the Native people lawfully resident in that society to that written constitution.
No constitution will ever gain 100% agreement because of the diversity of mankind, each with their own opinion, however it should be able to gain close to 100% acceptance.
A constitution should not attempt to address all the ills of a society in a detailed document.
It should instead encapsulate, in brief concise statements, the fundamental rights, freedoms and societal direction as well as the outline for the governance of a society.
It should be limited to less than ten pages and be written in the common language of the society so that everyone in that society can read and understand it.
As time progresses the governance and legal system that society implements will define, by legislation through amendments or judicial opinion, the meaning and application of specific parts of the constitution, provided that change does not infringe Common Law fundamentals.
For example: The Constitution for the United States of America has the following statement:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.“
That statement, only 27 words has tremendous implications.
It recognises the need to protect any society from the overreach of government or from foreign or domestic forces that seek to do harm.
It asserts the right of self defence, which is a Common Law right, by the holding of Arms by the individual for their own defence.
It does not specify what constitutes arms because weapons change over time.
It stops government or any civil authority from rendering the whole statement invalid because even the smallest change could be an infringement, which is not permitted under their constitution.
Words are important. Swords and muskets have given way to other weapons, so if the statement said “…right to keep and bear a flintlock fowler….”, would quickly become meaningless over time (the flintlock fowler was a common weapon of the era when the constitution was written).
The question of the definition of Arms is still today a matter for discussion, but then that is what a free society does. A tyrannical government will seek to remove all arms, or pass legislation that would only permit a pop gun. So that simple word “Arms” serves as a protection because it can never be adequately defined.
In like manner the Constitution we are all creating here has to be simply written with an eye on the future, but learnings from the past to create an easily understood document that the greater majority of New Zealanders can accept.
Who is writing this Constitution?
We are forming a team of not more than twenty people who come from a broad spectrum across society. There will be experienced and knowledgeable people from different disciplines such as Common Law, Constitutional Government, Judiciary, economics, health, education, foreign affairs etc. People with understanding of culture, both Maori and British / European as well business people, mothers, fathers, but all of which are passionate about changing New Zealand for the better.
The Constitutional Team will post an article from the constitution and the public will have opportunity to make comments which the team can consider. Articles once posted will have been written and revised by the team before posting. Once posted the public will have a set period of time to comment. The team will then review the comments and make changes as the team as a whole accepts.
Once the final article is agreed and posted it will not be subject to change.
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New Zealand Constitution.
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