11 Aug 2013

Catholic group wants Bill of Rights to have more weight

9:04 am on 11 August 2013

A Catholic group says New Zealand's Bill of Rights needs to be given more power in the country's constitution.

A Constitutional Advisory Panel is taking public submissions and reporting to the Government on what New Zealanders think about its constitution.

Lisa Beech, a spokesperson for Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, says it has made a submission about the 1990 Bill of Rights Act not having enough legislative power.

"We feel that the Bill of Rights hasn't saved us from passing discriminatory legislation in the past and it doesn't provide a robust enough framework even for public debate and discussion about human rights issues."

Ms Beech says the Government often breaches human rights for what it calls justified reasons, including the GCSB Amendment Bill currently before Parliament.

She says the constitution must also honour the Treaty of Waitangi as the fundamental agreement governing New Zealand.