Aversive Constitutionalism in the Westminster World: The Genesis of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (1990)
35 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2008 Last revised: 23 Feb 2011
Date Written: April 1, 2007
This article provides a new explanation of the genesis and nature of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act of 1990. The existing literature generally sees the adoption of bills of rights as an effort to entrench the policy preferences of electorally endangered political constituencies; the New Zealand case has been offered as a prime example of this dynamic. This article demonstrates that the facts of the case do not fit the dominant model. A new aversive perspective on the constitutionalization of rights in established democracies is presented, which focuses on three key factors in determining outcomes: the reaction of political elites to prior negative political experiences, structures that allow constitutional entrepreneurs to function, and background cultural factors.
Keywords: Aversive Constitutionalism, Hegemonic Preservation Thesis, Knowledge Class Thesis, Civil Liberties, Social Equality, Westminster Constitutions
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