For a Constitution that is easy to find and understand, reflects New Zealand's identity and nationhood, protects rights and liberties, and prevents governments from abusing power.


The book

Towards Democratic Renewal, by Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler, sets out the case for a modern, codified constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand.

A constitution that is simple, clear, transparent, and sets out the main powers and rules of government in one place.

Towards Democratic Renewal aims to stimulate debate about New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements, with the ultimate goal of strengthening our democracy


Our Key Proposals.

We propose to strengthen NZ's democracy by...
Clear rules that are easy to find

Put all of the main rules of government in one place so everyone can find and understand them.

Protecting human rights

Strengthen protection for human rights and allow courts to review laws that breach rights.

Government accountability

Make government more transparent and accountable to the public of New Zealand.

Improving Parliament

Reduce urgency, improve lawmaking processes, and increase the Speaker's independence.

A New Zealand head of state

Replace the Crown with a NZ head of state charged with safeguarding New Zealanders' rights.

Discussing the Treaty

Hold a national discussion to determine the Treaty's meaning in a modern New Zealand context.

Providing better safeguards

Strengthening checks and balances to protect citizens from abuse of state power.

Consistency with flexibility

Making rules of government consistent and clear, with flexibility when needed.


About Constitution Aotearoa NZ

A Constitution for Aotearoa NZ was developed with public input.

In 2016, Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler published A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand, which proposed a written, codified constitution. Following the publication of that book, Sir Geoffrey and Dr Butler travelled the country, meeting thousands of people to discuss their proposals. 

They received many hundreds of submissions from organisations and individuals around the country, and also listened to the debate in social and news media about New Zealand’s identity and where the country is heading. After considering all of this feedback, as well as input from experts in law and government, they published a second book, Towards Democratic Renewal, with a revised and simplified proposal for a written, codified constitution.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the New Zealand Law Foundation for this project.