Panel invites public input to 'conversation' on constitution

Last updated 05:00 16/06/2012

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The size of Parliament, the length of time for which it is elected and the number of Maori seats are all up for debate.

New Zealanders will soon have the opportunity to join a conversation on constitutional matters including the Treaty of Waitangi and the Bill of Rights as part of a wide-ranging review set up by the Government.

The Constitutional Advisory Panel, set up last year to lead the public discussion, was yesterday urging people to participate.

Panel co-chairmen Professor John Burrows and Sir Tipene O'Regan said the panel would begin engaging with the community later this year.

"We want to hear from those who know a lot about the constitution and from those who have not thought so much about it," they said.

"The constitution belongs to the people. It is not something that belongs to a few experts."

The pair said they didn't know where the conversation would end up, but were looking to finding out.

The panel was expected to report back to ministers in September next year, identifying areas of public consensus and where work was needed.

Early conversations with iwi, Maori leaders and other people at events, and online through blogs and social networking sites were planned.

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- The Dominion Post

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