Q. What was the role of the Constitutional Advisory Panel?

The Constitutional Advisory Panel was an independent advisory group, appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Māori Affairs, to listen to, consider and report on people’s views about a range of constitutional issues.

The Panel's recommendations reflect the Constitution Conversation as a whole including written submissions, face to face engagement, and on the Panel’s Facebook page.

The Panel’s terms of reference are here: [.PDF]

Q. Who was on the Panel?

The 12 Panel members were: Emeritus Professor John Burrows (Co-chair), Sir Tipene O’Regan (Co-chair), Peter Chin, Deborah Coddington, Hon Sir Michael Cullen, Hon John Luxton, Bernice Mene, Dr Leonie Pihama, Hinurewa Poutu, Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Peter Tennent, and Dr Ranginui Walker.

You can view their profiles here: [link]

Q. How did the Panel engage with the public?

The Panel’s early engagement with a range of umbrella organisations began in June 2012 and ran through to October 2012. The purpose of the early conversations was to raise awareness and prepare the ground for engagement.

From February to July 2013 the Panel attended, supported and encouraged over 120 hui, community-hosted meetings and independent events such as academic conferences.

The Panel’s engagement campaign was called The Constitution Conversation. It was supported by a range of information resources on the key constitutional topics. You can find more information about the Constitution Conversation and access the resources here: [link]

Q. What does the report say?

The report records the range of perspectives from a conversation with New Zealanders about our constitution and the Panel’s advice about what to do next.

The Panel’s key recommendation is that the Government actively support a continuing conversation about the constitution by ensuring people can find out more about the current arrangements and about options for our future.

The Panel recommends a review of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

The Panel recommends continuing the conversation on Māori-Crown relationships, so at this time does not recommend entrenching the Treaty of Waitangi or abolishing Māori seats in Parliament.

Q. How did the Panel arrive at their recommendations?

The Panel encouraged participants to provide some clear reasoning behind their views, to assist in identifying consensus and potential options for further work. The number of submissions in support of or rejecting any particular option or perspective influenced the Panel’s advice. The reasoning behind the submissions, however, was regarded as more important.

Q. How can I find out more about the constitution?

The Panel’s website will continue to host the Panel’s information and teaching resources. A selection of other information and teaching resources about New Zealand’s constitution can be found under the ‘Information Resources’. [link].

In addition teaching resources based on these materials have been published on the Ministry of Education’s curriculum website: http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Principles/Future-focus/Tools/New-Zealand-s-Constitution.

The website also contains a list of existing resources on constitutional topics.

Q. How much did this exercise cost?

$3.900 million was allocated to the implementation of the Panel’s engagement strategy from Vote Justice and Vote Māori Affairs.

The total expenditure is forecast to be up to $2.6 million. The estimated under-spend of $1.3 million is largely due to time constraints, the decision not to hold deliberative forums and the generosity of community hosts reducing engagement costs.

Q. Why do you have so much money left over?

Due to time constraints: the engagement period was shorter than expected. Due to community generosity and the decision not to hold a deliberative forum the engagement expenses were lower than expected.

Q. Where are the submissions?

The written submissions will be published on this website by 14 December.