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Report 45

The Treaty Making Process

Reform and the Role of Parliament

December 1997

Wellington, New Zealand

Table of Contents

The Law Commission is an independent, publicly funded, central advisory body established by statute to undertake the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand. Its purpose is to help achieve law that is just, principled, and accessible, and that reflects the heritage and aspirations of the peoples of New Zealand.

The Commissioners are:

The Honourable Justice Baragwanath – President
Joanne Morris obe
Judge Margaret Lee
DF Dugdale
Denese Henare onzm
Timothy Brewer ed

The Director of the Law Commission is Robert Buchanan

The office is at 89 The Terrace, Wellington
Postal address: PO Box 2590, Wellington 6001, New Zealand
Document Exchange Number: sp 23534
Telephone: (04) 473–3453, Facsimile: (04) 471–0959

Report/Law Commission, Wellington, 1997

issn 0113–2334 isbn 1–877187–17–8

This report may be cited as: nzlc r45

Also published as Parliamentary Paper E 31AG

19 December 1997

Dear Minister

I am pleased to submit to you Report 45 of the Law Commission, The Treaty Making Process: Reform and the Role of Parliament. This is the Commission’s second report directly on matters pertaining to New Zealand’s international obligations.

Interest in the treaty making process has grown within New Zealand with recognition that the issues are of major public importance, affecting not only our foreign relations and trade but much of our domestic law and economy. The Commission is aware of the many sectors who participate or maintain an interest in the treaty making process and has canvassed opinion across a wide range so as to include all issues in this report. The responses have been numerous and substantial, reinforcing the importance of the issues and demonstrating the depth of knowledge and experience in this sphere that New Zealand enjoys.

Treaty making is in truth a major element of our lawmaking process – of increasing importance as globalisation burgeons – with which our constitutional arrangements have not kept pace. We have attempted to identify the significant factors and suggest means of striking a new balance among them. In view of the topicality of this matter, as well as offering three main and two subsidiary recommendations for change, the Commission has sought to present much of the information received as a public resource.

We trust that this report will assist members of Parliament and public with both broad background information and focused direction for development of the treaty making process.

Yours sincerely

The Hon Justice Baragwanath

The Hon Douglas Graham MP
Minister of Justice
Parliament House

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