Letter to the Constitutional Review Panel

From: ConstitutionalReview [ConstitutionalReview@justice.govt.nz]

Sent: Thursday, 5 July 2012 5:13 p.m.

To: Name withheld

Subject: Re: Engagement Strategy for Consideration of Constitutional Issues – May 2012


Follow Up Flag: Follow up

Flag Status: Flagged


Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for email. The Panel has acknowledged that it faces some challenges as it prepares to engage with as many New Zealanders as possible, including those that you have identified. A key challenge is to inspire people to engage and to ensure that they can engage in ways that suit their busy lives. The Panel is committed to a citizen-driven process, which means that it will aim to adapt its engagement approach if it considers that the views of the full diversity of New Zealanders are not being reflected.

Given the limited time and resources the Panel cannot realistically aim to meet with every single New Zealander. In its strategy the Panel therefore proposed in this first stage to contact a diverse range of ‘umbrella’ organisations that represent a significant number of New Zealanders, asking them to provide a gateway to their members. The Panel is also seeking further information from these groups about how to engage with and inspire their members.

The reference to ‘chief-to-chief’ is simply an acknowledgement that the Panel will respect the status or mana of the people they are engaging with.

The Vote Māori Affairs funding will be used to support robust and inclusive engagement on constitutional issues, which utilises innovative and culturally appropriate mediums for engaging with iwi/Māori communities. To a large extent, those mediums will be equally appropriate for engaging with all New Zealanders. The role of the Treaty of Waitangi in our constitutional arrangements is one of the topics in the terms of reference. Any conversation about the Treaty must fully involve Māori, as Treaty partners.


Secretariat, Constitutional Advisory Panel

| c/- Ministry of Justice | DX SX10088 | Wellington 6011 | 04 918 8800 |

>>> A Private 27/06/2012 8:33 p.m. >>>

Dear Sir/Madam,


I have read the Engagement Strategy Document of May 2012, and have a number of questions, which I would be very pleased to have answered.


  1. How will you identify citizens who may not initially be interested in thinking about constitutional arrangements?
  2. How do you plan to publicize the website?
  3. Will you be involved in a myriad of mainstream public events e.g. celebrations etc?
  4. Will you publicize this constitutional review across the whole range of radio stations, to reach a wide cross section of the public?
  5. How are you going to provide feedback to the public so that it reaches into all areas of the public arena?
  6. On page 4 is written: “we will engage chief-to-chief”. Exactly what is meant by this? Who are these chiefs?
  7. And finally I have a query regarding the budget:

Whilst $2.1 million has been allocated from within Vote Justice to support engagement on constitutional issues, I see that another $2 million has also been allocated within Vote Maori Affairs. Will this $2 million Vote Maori Affairs funding be shared across the whole community, or will this amount be targeted at Maori participation?


The outcome of the constitutional review has the potential to affect all New Zealanders, now and into the future. I ask the questions above because I am not confident that the panel will succeed in attaining the views of a wide range of New Zealanders. I have particular concerns about the many citizens who do not belong to formal organisations or networks, and have very busy lives just making ends meet. Their potential for engagement on this issue is in doubt. So I fear that the values and aspirations of this group, which is likely to be sizeable, will not be represented in your final report.


I look forward to your reply.


Yours sincerely,

A Private