CivicsNZ began in 2010 with the publication of Report 8: Effective Maori Representation in Parliament – Working towards a National Sustainable Development Strategy (July 2010). It was also a response to the Government’s constitutional review, undertaken by the Constitutional Advisory Panel (CAP) in 2012 and 2013. Learn more here.

CivicsNZ has two main work streams. Firstly, the Institute closely followed the progress of the Constitutional Advisory Panel, researching and reporting on key elements or issues. The Institute’s main contribution to this was our submission to the Constitutional Advisory Panel, Ensuring New Zealand’s Constitution Is Fit for Purpose, which outlines our 42 key recommendations.

Secondly, building on the sentiments expressed during the StrategyNZ: Mapping our Future workshop – that young people need to be involved in, and have the capacity to engage with civic debate in New Zealand – the Institute hosted a forum for young New Zealanders to discuss the Constitutional Review. The EmpowerNZ workshop brought together 50 young people, split between law students and people from youth networks, to discuss what ‘a written constitution for a 21st century New Zealand’ could look like.

We had a Memorandum of Understanding with Te Papa to progress this event and
Dame Claudia Orange assisted us both before and during the workshop. The main output of the workshop was the 2012 Draft Constitutionwritten by the participants over the course of the two-day workshop. In July 2013, 15 of the EmpowerNZ participants reconvened in Wellington at the McGuinness Institute office to write a submission to the Constitutional Advisory Panel, Submission to the New Zealand Constitutional Advisory Panel: EmpowerNZ written submission.