A Government justice select committee has also taken the extraordinary step of suggesting Attorney-General Margaret Wilson attend a hui about the new Supreme Court after criticism of a lack of consultation. The committee said it would spend more time on the legislation so it could gather more evidence. It intended calling up to 20 more expert witnesses.
There has been mounting criticism from lawyers and Maori to the bill and the Opposition is calling for the issue to be decided by a referendum on the grounds it is a major constitutional issue.
Committee chairman, Labour MP Tim Barnett, signalled changes to Dr Wilson’s legislation, and said a wide range of options were under consideration.
The use of overseas judges, the appointments process and what sort of cases would be tried were among issues the committee wanted to hear more about.
Dr Wilson said yesterday she was comfortable with the committee process and she was planning to attend a two-day hui in July, hosted by Tuwharetoa.
She had always said consultation with Maori would be an important part of the debate.
South Island tribe Ngai Tahu added its weight behind opposition to the bill this week, saying there should have been extensive public debate before the Government moved to make such a sweeping constitutional change.