Governor's challenge to law reformers

By Derek Cheng

Anand Satyanand has issued a challenge to the Law Commission at his first official function as New Zealand's Governor-General.

Opening a seminar to mark the commission's first 20 years, Mr Satyanand praised those who had contributed to the agency's success.

"The next step for the commission, after having achieved a place for law reform on the legal landscape, the same needs to occur on the citizens' landscape," Mr Satyanand said.

"My challenge is that the ordinary person's ability to participate in discussion about changes to the law needs fostering."

It was an apt occasion for Mr Satyanand, who spent 12 years practising law, 10 years as a criminal law trial judge and 10 years as an ombudsman.

He reminded those in attendance of the commission's role, to "achieve laws that are just, principled, accessible and that reflect the heritage and aspirations of the peoples of New Zealand".

"A passion for justice drives the commission and this ensures our legal framework will continue to evolve with the needs of our changing society."

It has been a hectic first few days for Mr Satyanand - the country's 19th Governor-General and first of Indian descent - since he was officially sworn in on Wednesday.

Among other engagements, including a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial after his official induction, Mr Satyanand and his wife Susan took up residence at the start of the week in Government House.

Last night they hosted their first dinner function for the Diplomatic Heads of Mission.

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