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Constitutional Reform

Kennedy Graham MP
kennedy [dot] graham [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)

Go to the Constitutional Reform Policy Summary

Download the Constitutional Reform Policy as PDF

Spokesperson: Kennedy Graham MP

Updated 15-Jun-2013


The Green Party envisions a world in which recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equitable and inalienable rights and responsibilities of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. We envision a world where everyone is able to contribute meaningfully to decisions which impact on ourselves, our communities, our environment and the generations which will follow us. In such a world, Aotearoa New Zealand exemplifies transparent, inclusive and consensus-based decision-making based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Maori are able to exercise tino rangatiratanga.


A democratic Aotearoa New Zealand:

  1. Recognises the constitutional centrality of both Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the Declaration of Independence.
  2. Empowers all its citizens to participate and contribute to communal well-being and be involved in local decision-making
  3. Respects the rights and needs of all its citizens
  4. Cultivates collective decision-making through informed, inclusive, structured consensus-seeking dialogue, giving due weight and effect to the voices of the many and of the few
  5. Safeguards its political and economic autonomy, including the right to set its own standards
  6. Institutes protections against abuse of power and privilege
  7. Reduces the potential for conflicts of interest in the exercise of authority
  8. Avoids exploitation and advantaging of any group at the expense of any other.
  9. Supports gender balance in decision-making bodies.
  10. Facilitates workplace democracy and collective organisation

Policy Points

1. Constitutional Reform: Developing a National Constitution

Currently Aotearoa New Zealand does not have a formal written national constitution. While we have a collection of laws and documents that loosely can be said to collectively represent our constitution, the status of these are unclear.

The Green Party will:

  1. Help facilitate nationwide dialogue to formulate a statement of national aspirations as a standard against which our national laws and regulations can be measured, and which can be used as a basis for forming a formal, written national constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand.
  2. Support the establishment of an independent constitutional commission to assist in such a dialogue, and in formulating specific proposals. The commission would be expected to consider such fundamentals as:
    1. the constitutional centrality of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the Declaration of Independence
    2. existing legislation, common law and constitutional conventions
    3. the building of a just, peaceful society
    4. the entrenchment of universal human rights
    5. the autonomy of communities
    6. the rule of law
    7. the role of the media
    8. the powers of Parliament
    9. the separation of powers between the branches of government
    10. the processes of open government, public participation and consensual decision-making
    11. the protection of Māori language and kaupapa
    12. the role played by independent institutions such as the Auditor General, a Constitutional Court, Ombudsmen, and Commissions for Democracy, Human Rights and Justice
  3. Ensure that Maori have adequate resources to enable them to engage in their own tikanga process for determining constitutional issues.

2. Head of State Arrangements

The Green Party will:

  1. Help facilitate nationwide dialogue over whether New Zealand's status as a constitutional monarchy fits with our evolving national identity, what could replace it and how that would give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This would include discussion on the means of selection and the powers of the replacement body, which could be a head of state, heads of state or some other body
  2. Support a democratic and participatory process, such as referenda, to enable New Zealanders to decide whether New Zealand should retain the British monarch as the Head of State or move to a resident New Zealand head(s) of state selected by a democratic process.

3. Composition of Parliament

The Green Party will:

  1. Establish a set ratio of electorate to list MPs (e.g. 60:40, 50:50) to ensure proportional representation in Parliament is maintained.
  2. Introduce a mechanism to link the size of Parliament to New Zealand's population so that the total number of MPs increases with population growth or decreases with population decline, starting with a Parliament of 120 MPs.


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