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

See all articles by David Erdos

David Erdos

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; Trinity Hall

Date Written: April 1, 2007

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Erdos, David, Aversive Constitutionalism in the Westminster World: The Genesis of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (1990) (April 1, 2007). International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 343-369, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1145493 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icon/mom001

David Erdos (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/people/academic/d-o-erdos/5972

Trinity Hall ( email )

University of Cambridge
Trinity Lane
Cambridge, CB2 1TJ
United Kingdom

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