Not only that, the advice is that the legislation has the effect of knocking out Bernard Darnton's case against Helen Clark, the Labour Party and Parliamentary Services. Says Bernard Darnton:
Retrospective legislation introduced into Parliament today will probably spell the end of Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton's lawsuit against Helen Clark and other Labour members but Darnton is claiming a moral victory.
He says, “if Labour had thought they were in the right they would have seen us in court. In reality, they knew they were going to get a hiding and so they're changing the law before the case can be tried.
“This government has proven that they have no respect for the law. They've said they have legal opinions that differ to mine but they aren't prepared to see them fail in court. Right at the start of this case I said that this government thought they were above the law. They've proved me right in a very disturbing fashion.
“Changing the law to escape charges against them is something I'd expect from a third-world dictatorship. Sadly, New Zealand has no constitutional protections to prevent this type of abuse by a government that is, quite literally, out of control.”
Darnton is continuing to look at his legal options.
If the Foreshore and Seabed Act was introduced with the express aim of making it impossible to go to court to prove pre-existing property rights then this bill has the express aim of making it impossible to hold this Government to account, and the manner it is being introduced just shits all over any pretence at this country being a western liberal democracy in which the Government is subject to the rule of law.
We're fucked. Free speech is under attack. The rule of law is now a joke. And we have a Government that will do anything, including stealing an election, to stay in power.
This is not just a whiff of corruption: this is a whole toxic cloud of fetid power-lust that in a very short time has engulfed the political processes of this country.
UPDATE: Reaction everywhere. David Slack's is perhaps the most temperate, contrasting this to Fitzgerald v Muldoon and pointing out that the ruling then indicated that Parliament is supreme, something Muldoon at least was unwilling to use to his advantage -- a surprising scrupulousness this Government is unwilling to emulate.
LINKS: Moral victory for Bernard Darnton over pledge card - Bernard Darnton, Scoop
The Government is above the law - Darnton Vs. Clark
Fallout - David Slack
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Darnton V Clark, Free Speech, Constitution, Law, Politics-Labour