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If lawyers don’t understand the law…

Written By: - Date published: 12:59 pm, August 21st, 2013 - 32 comments
Categories: john banks, john key, law, Spying - Tags: ,


John Key may make promises about how future Prime Ministers will issue warrants, he may make promises about how the law will be interpreted – but he’s not in a position to make those promises.  Similarly his promise that he’ll resign if there’s mass surveillance of New Zealanders is empty if it doesn’t happen / isn’t found out on his watch.

He can’t guarantee what Prime Ministers after next year will do, as it may not be him. He won’t be the lawyer or judge interpreting in court the legality of GCSB actions.

The people who will be making those decisions say the wording of the law is bad, so he should listen to them. These important laws that impinge on our freedoms should be passed with much more consensus, not by 1 vote majority. Accepting democracy means accepting that even if you feel you are right, other people’s viewpoints (especially those with more relevant experience than you) are valid and must be taken into consideration, not dismissed.

Now, which government MP is willing to stand up for Democracy?

[Also, John Banks – have you checked your party’s philosophy recently? We all know you’re a ring-in Nat poodle not a true Act believer, but I suspect there’s more than a few in ACT who find this massive erosion of privacy somewhat disturbing…]

32 comments on “If lawyers don’t understand the law…”

  1. mickysavage 1

    But all we need to do Bunji is ask John Key and he will tell us what it means and he never, ever gets it wrong

  2. tracey 2

    Banks is particularly outrage his emails and texts could have been read… as is collins. Hypocrits all

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    “On matters of law and legal due process, perhaps the Prime Minister, a former market trader, is not the right person to ask. He should put away his pride for a moment and accept the expertise of others who are actually qualified in this field”

    • BM 3.1

      Who’s writing the GSCB bill?, like you say Keys not a lawyer so obviously other people such as lawyers are involved.

      Who are they?, why do they see no issue.

      • Mary 3.1.1

        Because they do what they’re told. You’re living in the good old days when public servants were servants of the public and not slaves to ministers. Get with the programme, buddy.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1.2

        And why should we consider that these shadowy anonymii somehow have a better legal understanding of this bill than the Law Society?

        They seem borderline incompetent to me.

        • Murray Olsen

          Borderline incompetent is being remarkably generous. What I’ve read of it is the most ill framed and confusing legal document I’ve ever seen, and I’ve looked at quite a few Brazilian ones. I can only suppose it was written so as to be vague and unclear, and not constrain the spooks in any possible way. In that sense, it’s brilliant, and the framers are completely unethical.

      • emergency mike 3.1.3

        “Who are they?, why do they see no issue.”

        So is this a rhetorical question or would you actually like an answer?

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.4

        Who are they?, why do they see no issue.

        Who knows, but this law has obviously been reviewed and OK’d by the USA. They don’t see any issues with it so no problem right?

        • BM

          It would have have to be lawyers that work for the public service, I presume this isn’t something that gets subbed out.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            So, you don’t in fact have a clue, but based on your cluelessness, you are arguing that theoretically they must be not only competent but correct, these mythical shadows.

            Do you even believe your own drivel?

            • BM

              So, you don’t in fact have a clue

              I would thought that was fairly obvious if you read my initial post, which was why I was asking.

              Every one keeps going on how crap and poorly written this bill is, which made me wonder who’s actually writing it, I know it’s not Key, he’s a market trader, not really his field of expertise.

              So who are they, lawyers hired by the government, lawyers who work full time for the government.?

              I’m surprised they’re doing such a shitty job, one would expect the government to have some of the best lawyers available to them, it’s not like money is an issue.

              • McFlock

                I know it’s not Key, he’s a market trader, not really his field of expertise.
                By that logic, he’d recuse himself from being Prime Minister.

                Maybe the spooks put together the bill, with not a lawyer in sight.

                Maybe a Hollywood exec phoned it in at 3am California time.

                Maybe a team of lawyers put it together with the objective of making it unintelligible, thus disguising that it grants the widest powers possible.

                Maybe John Key tried writing it all by himself, like a big boy.

                Four “maybes” off the top of my head, none of which involve public service lawyers performing a substandard service.

                • BM

                  Four “maybes” off the top of my head, none of which involve public service lawyers performing a substandard service.

                  But this would be the most likely scenario, wouldn’t it

                  Maybe Shearer or Norman should call for an inquiry into the competence of public service lawyers, because, let’s be honest they’re really letting the side down.

                  • McFlock

                    But this would be the most likely scenario, wouldn’t it

                    Hell, no.
                    This bill was written by folk who collectively became the Sergeant Schulz of legislative composition, intentionally or unintentionally. It’s either a masterpiece of obscurantism or the most amazing legal incompetence seen in generations. Even a shit lawyer would have difficulty writing something this bad.

                    Personally, I think all four of the maybes are ahead of the standard tory mantra “public service incompetence” on this one.

                  • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                    You sad desperate person. It isn’t some faceless bureaucrat standing up in Parliament to claim ownership of this legislation, it’s that mendacious wretch, the Right Honourable John Key, Prime Minister.

                    The buck stops with him; his bill is an intolerable piece of economic and social vandalism which I sincerely hope causes the ruination of everything he represents :)

                  • Tracey

                    Nice blame shift attempt BM but the wording of this bill is driven by GCSB and Key and possibly SIS and Police… that’s why it’s a mess. The wrong people are driving it.

                    • BM

                      Interesting that the people who you’d expect to have the most knowledge would be doing such a poor job.

                      Who in your mind should be driving this?,l personally would have thought the GCSB, SIS and Police would be the best people, they’re the people who live and breath this stuff on a daily basis.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      In some parallel universe that existed for about one nano-second before collapsing, the things BM thinks had some worth.

                    • McFlock

                      But they’re spies, mathematicians, and investigators – drafting legislation is “not really his field of expertise”, as someone previously said.

                      So basically your position is that a bad law was most likely written by professional lawyers, because the squirrels would have written good legislation.

                      If whoever drafted the bill is “really letting the side down”, surely Key is once again shafting the nation by imposing on us poorly-worded, vague, self-contradictory, and highly dangerous dictats.

                      Why do you think Key is ramming through this substandard legislation, rather than sending it back and demanding a clear and practical bill that addresses the current bill’s shortcomings?

                • David H

                  Maybe he let his son take it to school for a class project??

              • Mary

                FFS. It could be anyone drafting it. It doesn’t matter. It might be the Parliamentary Council Office, Ministry of Justice counsel or even some private firm. It doesn’t matter. They draft what they’re asked to draft. Any or all three of these groups may well be involved but parliament doesn’t give a stuff about who wrote the words. It’s what the words say that parliament looks at. And like I said before we live in a world where ‘public servants’ no longer serve the public. They serve the minister. There’s even legislation that right-wingers would say demands that this is the case, like the State Sector Act. I’m sorry, BM, but I can’t help but get annoyed when people ask such stupid questions as the one you’ve asked. It’s pretty basic stuff, buddy.

      • Paul 3.1.5

        Is there anything that this government would do that might make you stop your unquestioning support?

  4. tracey 4

    It cld come from the law commission or lawyers in the pms dept but it is very subject to the politics so changes can be constantly made before it gets to first reading usually by those proposing it. So yes lawyers will be involved but politicians will be driving it. For example the lawyer might say we can make it clear that no kiwis internet communication will be intercepted but a politician says well it might be we want to do that so lets leave it murky… and see who can afford to sue a case or even know theyve been spied on.

  5. aerobubble 5

    Look at the fishing limits Key says, okay let’s, commercial trawlers cannot catch under sized fish (as they like their land catchers they get fined. So why do we hear of trawlers nets catching under size fish, surely there can’t be one law for some, that its patently obvious when a trawler leaves port with a net that will catch undersize fish then it will be breaking the law.

    Its not just the lawyers, its NZ society is just thick.

  6. North 6

    BM – to put paid to your risible, childlike determination to maintain the righteousness of your irresponsible munter idol ShonKey Python (and blame some other bugger as always), here’s where government bills get drafted – the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. Surprise surprise !

    So it’s not a case of some incompetent public servant lawyer running out of control and drafting legislation which is patently defective and anti-democratic, thereby embarrassing ShonKey Python. The drafting lawyers do as they’re told by their successive political masters you fool. All quite regular. Has been so for well over a hundred years. Can you see it being any other way ? Seriously ?.


    Some pathology happening with you, I’m certain of it. “No no no…….I’m not gonna believe…….. no matter what you say……..I just won’t. So there !”

    • Mary 6.1

      It hasn’t quite been like this for over a hundred years. There was a time not too long ago when public servants served the public, which included giving balanced advice on how proposed law or policy would affect various groups of person. I remember seeing, for example, a damning report from the Department of Social Welfare boss on what the effects of the 1991 benefit cuts would be. Government ignored that advice, which it’s entitled to do, but at least we had all of the information on record that shows how the decision was reached within the transparent decision making process we say is part and parcel of our democracy. This is all gone now. Today, and in NZ it really took hold in the 1990s, officials don’t give proper balanced policy advice on how people might be affected. They give advice on how to foist a pre-determined policy agenda upon the public in ways that attract the least amount of resistance from the public possible and the least amount of detriment to government’s chances of re-election and therefore its opportunity to continue with its agenda.

      Of course, the likes of BM could never think there might be something that’s not quite right with any of this.

    • Mary 6.2

      “The drafting lawyers do as they’re told by their successive political masters you fool. All quite regular. Has been so for well over a hundred years.”

      Yes, I agree in the sense that parliamentary counsel (although not always) draft the words and that this has been the case for decades. I guess my point responding to BM is that up until relatively recently the lawyers engaged by government, wherever they may have come from, would’ve had a duty to point out potential unconstitutionality or other problems and to advise accordingly and to ensure such advice becomes part of the record. That’s not the case anymore.

  7. tracey 7

    Who will know they have been wrongly spied upon in order to sue to test the law.

  8. Don't worry be happy 8

    Someone txted Nat Rad with a new nickname for Key…”The Pry Minister”. Apt.

    Will be chilling to watch him drive home the next nail in our democracy with the bill to force (secret) release of data from providers. There must be rough times coming for ‘security’ to be such a priority.

  9. Tracey 9

    His love of NZ is so deep that when he gets his knighthood he will bow before the Governor General not the Queen

    Yea Right

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