We had a great turnout for two separate public meetings on Friday 30 September to discuss our book.

The first on Friday morning, organised by U3A in Takaka, attracted 100 people.

Geoffrey Palmer presented to this meeting. constitution-aotearoa-nelson-2There was a lively and spirited question time that could have continued much longer than the time allocated for the meeting.

Among the questions posed were:

  • How many issues should be decided by more than a simple majority in the House of Representatives?
  • Whether the Head of State should be elected, or if appointed by Parliament should the majority be more than 50 per cent?
  • Why should the Treaty of Waitangi be in the Constitution?
  • Why do we need an Executive Council?
  • Why does the Constitution not talk about the currency?

Later that evening, an audience of 85 turned out at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology for a meeting organised by the Nelson Institute. Both Andrew Butler and Geoffrey Palmer were present.

The Nelson meeting was engaged and interested. Again the questions were too numerous to be dealt with in the time available.

The discussion concentrated upon what the House of Representatives should be able to do and not able to do under urgency, how the power given to the courts in the proposed Constitution would work, and the need to have a single constitutional document that people from all cultures and backgrounds in New Zealand could find and to which they could relate.

The right to a healthy environment was also the subject of considerable questions and debate.

The meetings showed that there is a considerable appetite to learn how our governance works and how it may be improved. We were very grateful for those who attended, the questions posed and the discussion following each meeting.