A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand proposes to strengthen Parliament’s role as the centrepiece of New Zealand democracy. Our proposed reforms aim to increase democratic oversight of government activities, and to improve the quality of lawmaking.
Parliament is where New Zealanders’ democratically elected representatives make law, set the annual budget, and hold the government to account.
Under current constitutional rules the Government has too much power over Parliament and can effectively control it. Parliament passes too much law, too quickly, often without adequate consultation or scrutiny. It fails to hold the Government to account as well as it should. And it passes laws that contravene widely accepted human rights.
A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand aims to address these issues, and protect and strengthen Parliament’s vital democratic roles, and strengthen the checks and balances on government and parliamentary power.
A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand proposes several reforms aimed at improving the quality of lawmaking, so that new laws are properly considered and do the job they’re supposed to.
We propose much stricter controls on the use of urgency so that legislation cannot be rushed through Parliament without proper consultation or scrutiny. We propose to increase transparency by introducing requirements for the government to properly explain its legislative proposals and programme. And we propose a four-year electoral term so that governments have time to properly consider legislation rather than rushing it through.
Strengthening checks and balances
A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand contains many proposals for strengthening the checks and balances on state power. It clarifies the roles of Parliament, the Government, and the Judiciary, and their powers to keep each other in check. It shifts some powers from the Government to Parliament. It requires them to act in accordance with basic human rights, while giving Parliament the final say. And it makes clear that all branches of government derive their power from the people of New Zealand.
You can read more about our proposals in chapter 1 of A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand, and in other chapters on Parliament, the Judiciary, and Human Rights.
An independent speaker?
Parliament’s rules allow the Government to determine who becomes Parliament’s Speaker. Once elected, the Speaker retains ties to his or her political party.
We believe the Speaker should be politically independent, not voting in Parliament nor remaining an MP for the governing party.
You can read more here.