Thursday, January 26, 2006
No section 7 NZBORA scrutiny of Mental Health Bill
7. Attorney - General to report to Parliament where Bill appears to be inconsisten t with Bill of Rights - Where any Bill is introduced into the House of Representatives, the Attorney – General shall, -
(a) In the case of a Government Bill, on the introduction of that Bill; or
(b) In any other case, as soon as practicable after the introduction of the Bill,-
bring to the attention of the House of Representatives any provision in the Bill that appears to be inconsistent with any of the rights and freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights.
In R v Poumako (2000) 17 CRNZ 530; 5 HRNZ 652 (CA), Thomas J noted, at para. 96, that the legislation discussed in Poumako had failed to be scrutinised pursuant to s.7 of the Bill of Rights Act. This was so , because a report from the Attorney – General is only required when a Government Bill is introduced into the House of Representatives (s.7(a)), or ' as soon as practicable' (s.7(b)) after the introduction of any other sort of Bill.
Section 7 does not apply to subsequent amendments made by supplementary order paper (SOP) during the committee stage or third reading of a Bill. As such, an amendment to a Bill by SOP fails to receive scrutiny under s.7. In Poumako Thomas J claimed this was one factor to justify the Court making a declaration that the legislation breached s.25(g) of the Bill of Rights Act.
This e - mail is a response from the NZ Ministry of Justice - Mental Health Bill not scrutinized for consistency with NZBORA, as Mental Health Bill predates NZBORA.
The Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 was introduced to the Parliament as the Mental Health Bill on 8 December 1987, and predates the enactment of the Bill of Rights Act which did not come into force until 25 September 1990.
Section 7 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 requires the Attorney-General to table a report upon introduction of a Bill to Parliament if he or she considers that any provision of the Bill appears to be inconsistent with any of the rights and freedoms affirmed in the Bill of Rights Act.
Because the Mental Health Bill predates the Bill of Rights Act the Bill was not considered for consistency with the Bill of Rights Act, and no reports were tabled by the Attorney-General about the Mental Health Bill.
-----Original Message----Sent: Thursday, 19 January 2006 3:07 p.m.To: Reception (MOJ)Subject: question about NZBORA
Hi, do you have a copy available of the Attorney General's report filed pursuant to s.7 of the Bill of Rights Act in regards to inconsistencies with the then Mental Health (CAT) Bill ? Was such a report made? If so, a copy is sought under the Official Information Act 1982. Money may be paid if necessary. Regards, *******
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