NZ Law Society v AG?

by Hannah Norton28 Aug 2015
The New Zealand Law Society (NZLS) and the Attorney General are at loggerheads around last minute changes to the Health and Safety Bill, which was passed by Parliament yesterday.

The Society first expressed concerns about the last-minute insertion of provisions to the bill on Tuesday, saying the provisions should not have been inserted at such a late stage of the legislative process.

The body wrote to Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse stating the provisions had the potential to breach constitutional rights.

But the next day, the Attorney General Christopher Finlayson hit back, expressing his “disappointment at the lack of rigour shown by the Law Society in its recent press release” – saying the Society had commented on an old version of the bill.

“The Law Society plays an important role in contributing to the quality of legislation passed by Parliament,” Finlayson said in a release.

“But in order for Parliament to benefit from that contribution, accuracy really is paramount, especially when the Law Society chooses to comment on legislation via press release.”

In response, the Society yesterday released the letter it sent to Hon Michael Woodhouse.

"We have now reviewed the changes made to Schedule 2A,” NZLS president Chris Moore said.

“The impact of these is unclear in relation to the right to a fair trial, and the other concerns we raised in our letter remain. We feel it is important to release our letter in the public interest."