Friday, December 10, 2004

A society governed by laws

Great news on Ahmed Zaoui's bail and the Civil Union Bill being passed.

I'm amazed by the level of ignorance shown by many commentators on the former (less so on the latter - you don't get much logic on Planet Religo-Nut).

A lot of people seem to think that the government had the option to deport Zaoui to Malaysia or wherever. They don't. The reason for this is as follows:
- The Convention on the Status of Refugees, to which NZ is a signatory, requires that NZ admit anyone who appears on our shores meeting the definition of a refugee.
- The Refugee Status Appeal Authority determined, in this decision, which I would recommend reading, that Zaoui met the requirements of the convention.
- The government may not deport a refugee - it may, as it has done in the Zaoui case, detain a refugee it believes to be a threat to national security.

The Supreme Court has the right to form a decision based on the entire body of NZ statute, common and established constitutional law. For those who don't like this, it would be interesting to hear an alternative - rule by decree? bills of attainder?

In a society governed by laws it is clearly necessary and proper to have a body that can interpret those laws, and yes, that body is in many cases going to be able to overule parliament and government - to me that is how it should be.

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