10 November 2008

Election 08: executive roles for the Maori Party

There's some talk about Ministerial roles outside Cabinet for the Maori Party. I wonder, though, whether the wiser solution might be to appoint Turia and Sharples as Parliamentary Under-Secretaries. See paras 2.45 - 2.48 of the Cabinet Manual:
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries 2.45 The Governor-General, under section 8 of the Constitution Act 1986, may appoint any member of Parliament to be a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in relation to the ministerial office or offices specified in the warrant of appointment. The Governor-General appoints Parliamentary Under-Secretaries on the advice of the Prime Minister. Although they form part of executive government, Parliamentary Under-Secretaries are not members of the Executive Council, so they are not empowered to act for Ministers under section 7 of the Constitution Act 1986. 2.46 Parliamentary Under-Secretaries are appointed to assist Ministers, and their authority derives solely from the Minister they are assisting. (See section 9 of the Constitution Act 1986.) 2.47 The relevant Minister must provide to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary a formal letter clearly setting out the role of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the portfolio, any delegated responsibilities, and relevant working arrangements. The draft letter must be approved by the Prime Minister through the Secretary of the Cabinet, and the Minister should provide copies of the final letter to the Secretary of the Cabinet and the chief executive of the department concerned. As with Associate Ministers, the letter should set out clearly the Parliamentary Under-Secretary's area of responsibility, including any limits on authority, on the ability to make public statements, and on the relationship with the department. Details of delegations to Parliamentary Under-Secretaries may be included in the Schedule of Responsibilities Delegated to Associate Ministers. (See paragraphs 2.32(c) and 2.35.) 2.48 As members of the Executive, Parliamentary Under-Secretaries are bound by the principle of collective responsibility. (See paragraphs 5.22 - 5.28.)

In my view, a better deal to the "unity-distinctiveness" dilemma for both side of the equation.

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Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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