Constitution of New Zealand - Reform


Because it is not supreme law, the constitution is in theory comparatively easy to reform, requiring only a majority of Members of Parliament to amend it, as illustrated by the abolition of the Legislative Council in 1950.

Certain aspects of the constitution are entrenched, after a fashion. Section 268 of the Electoral Act declares that the law governing the maximum term of Parliament (itself part of the Constitution Act), along with certain provisions of the Electoral Act relating to the redistribution of electoral boundaries, the voting age, and the secret ballot, may only be altered either by three-quarters of the entire membership of the House of Representatives, or by a majority of valid votes in a popular referendum. Section 268 itself is not protected by this provision, so a government could legally repeal Section 268 and go on to alter the entrenched portions of law, both with a mere simple majority in Parliament. However, the entrenchment provision has enjoyed longstanding bipartisan support, and the electoral consequences of using a legal loophole to alter an entrenched provision would likely be severe.

Further, and even though not subject to legislative entrenchment, material change to other aspects of the constitution is unlikely to occur absent broad-based support, either through broad legislative agreement or by referendum.

Read more about this topic:  Constitution Of New Zealand

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