AUSTRALIA’S HIGH COURT could become the final court of appeal for New Zealanders, if the NZ Opposition wins the country’s next national election, Lawyers Weekly has learned.
New Zealand National party MP and member of the Justice and Electoral Committee, Richard Worth, has suggested that he is “interested in the prospect of reverting to the Privy Council or the possibility of an amendment to [the] Australian Constitution to constitute the High Court of Australia with assigned New Zealand judges as our final court. I think I could persuade our caucus to that view,” he said
According to Worth, “this will be actively explored under a National or National-coalition government”.
But, from this side of the Tasman, commentators are less enthused by the prospect. A High Court spokesperson said that because the idea is only hypothetical at this point, and it has thus far not been raised with them, they are not willing to comment.
According to the High Court, Worth’s proposal would involve legislation for a referendum, and the Attorney-General, being the first law officer in the country, would have the carriage of that legislation.
But a spokesperson for Attorney-General Philip Ruddock was also unwilling to consider the proposal, being one of a single MP “who is not even in Government”. “It is only one person saying it,” the A-G spokesperson said. “It is not something that has been raised with us so is not worth consideration at this point,” he said.