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GCSB diversions and won’t anyone think of the kids?

Written By: - Date published: 9:26 am, August 13th, 2013 - 18 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, john key - Tags: ,

John Key Nat Billboard Corproate vote

As Karol reported last night John Key thinks that Kiwis are more concerned about the amount of snapper that they can catch then they are about their rights of privacy.

Over the past few months many kiwis have repeatedly expressed concern about the GCSB and the proposals to give it increased power.  Key has attempted to denigrate the opposition and has suggested that opponents do not know what they are talking about.  But when such august bodies as the New Zealand Law Society, the Human Rights Commission and the Privacy Commissioner dare to poke their heads above the parapet and say this law is wrong then a responsible administration would take note.

But the Government has prepared a counterattack or possibly three.  John Key is obviously a believer in the maxim that you should never let a good crisis go to waste.

Key has said that Kiwis are more concerned about the reduction in the numbers of snapper they can catch.  This is an unusual response.  It appears clear that David Cunliffe’s attacks on the issue have struck a rich vein and Nathan Guy’s proposal that fishermen’s daily catch of snapper be restricted to three while commercial quotas are untouched has caused a great deal of dissent.  The proposal is an awful one and Nathan Guy ought to have had the foresight that it should not be offered up even as an option for consultation but it pales into insignificance to the attack on our rights of privacy.  Expect the possibility of Guy’s cabinet career being thrown overboard if for no other reason than it seems to boost Key’s standing with the electorate.

The second counterattack is the Government’s proposal to enact a law under emergency to give Ministerial Inquiries the power to summons witnesses and subpoena documents, using the Fonterra fiasco as a justification.  Excuse me but have people already forgotten about the Henry report into the leak of the Kitteridge report and his intrusion into Andrea Vance’s rights of privacy.  Do we really want to give this Ministry the legal power legitimise what Henry did?  And why does the Fonterra difficulty require this.  Is Fonterra refusing to cooperate?

There is an important constitutional understanding at stake.  These sorts of inquiries are normally conducted under the Commissions of Inquiries Act 1908 which give the Governor General the power to appoint persons to investigate any matter of public importance.  Commissioners have power to summons witnesses and require production of documents.  But the understanding is that this work is performed by an independent person, normally a Judge, rather than giving this power to the Executive.  If Key really wanted to get an inquiry going he would use this existing power rather than ram through under emergency an increase in executive powers.

And has anyone else noticed that at times of crisis Paula Bennett or Judith Collins pops up and proposes either further beneficiary bashing or some further attack on civil rights?  The latest is Bennett’s proposal that child abuse suspects ought to be kept away from kids.  At a totally gut level reflexive response who could disagree?  But the proposal is that courts be given powers to ban an adult’s contact with kids for a period of up to ten years even though that person may have been acquitted of child abuse allegations made against them.  Whatever happened to the principle that individuals should only be punished for illegal activity after they had been convicted of the allegation?

As Bomber Bradbury has pointed out this new law would require a vast active surveillance network to keep tabs on everyone who is under these orders.  Perhaps the GCSB will have some spare capacity that could be used for this purpose.

There is a clear pattern here.  When this Ministry is boxed into a corner it will throw up a smorgasboard of issues to divert attention.  And hope that our attention is diverted.

18 comments on “GCSB diversions and won’t anyone think of the kids?”

  1. King Kong 1

    New Zealanders are more concerned about how much Snapper they can catch than the GCSB bill, and rightly so.

    Unlike the narcissists and egotists on the left who somehow think the GCSB is interested in watching them beat off in the shower, most New Zealanders realise that if you are not planning on blowing something up, hacking into secure sites, or raping and torturing children (to use the example from above), then this wont affect you one jot.

    • Pascal's bookie 1.1

      So if it wasn’t for the tax rates you would’ve supported the east in the cold war then. Charming.

    • shorts 1.2

      from my limited interactions with dyed in the wool national party supporters they do seem infuriated by the snapper issue

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        that would be right; they’re doubly infuriated that its a frikkin National Government doing this.

    • richard 1.3

      KK, here’s some essential reading for you. You’ll be happy to know it even mentions watching people in the shower and says why that is not the problem.

      http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/

      Edit: the 2nd last para is quite a good summary”

      “My life’s an open book,” people might say. “I’ve got nothing to hide.” But now the government has large dossiers of everyone’s activities, interests, reading habits, finances, and health. What if the government leaks the information to the public? What if the government mistakenly determines that based on your pattern of activities, you’re likely to engage in a criminal act? What if it denies you the right to fly? What if the government thinks your financial transactions look odd—even if you’ve done nothing wrong—and freezes your accounts? What if the government doesn’t protect your information with adequate security, and an identity thief obtains it and uses it to defraud you? Even if you have nothing to hide, the government can cause you a lot of harm.

      • Colonial Viper 1.3.1

        There is also an overriding principle at play here: that of civil liberties.

        In other words –

        1) clear restrictions on the power that government can apply to its citizens
        2) the due process through which that power is applied
        3) the overall balance of power between the citizenry and the government.

        Put it more simply – why should they know everything about what you are doing, planning and seeing on a day to day basis, while we know absolutely nothing about what they are doing, planning and seeing?

      • Tiger Mountain 1.3.2

        Interesting piece richard. Curtain twitching, underwear sniffing, garbage riffling, spending following, communication monitoring, your computer/other device watching you etc is always about power relations and thought and behaviour control. Compliance and subservience.

        Stuff ’em.

      • Chooky 1.3.3

        @ richard…thanks for that article…just about says it all

        I had a friend who went to live at Bert Potters commune..later regretted it…..it would be interesting to know how such communes and cults use lack of privacy as a means of power, control , corruption and abuse…especially sexual abuse of children and teenagers

        It would also be interesting to know the effects that lack of privacy have on child development and the development of creativity…I would think that maybe the importance of privacy/ one way or another is enormous…

      • Paul 1.3.4

        He won’t answer because he has no answer.

    • Murray Olsen 1.4

      I suspect KKK means that anyone who thinks showers are mainly for beating off in is unlikely to understand enough about the Bill to be worried about it.

  2. irascible 2

    Interestingly, public concern about the intrusion of the State into their private activities is real and palpable. Key and his PR spinners are totally out of touch living as they do on the vast, empty golf course of Planet Key.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      It was good of Clark, Key, Dunne, Banks, Collins and Bennett to have pre-warmed public sentiment on the topic via – publishing beneficiaries details, open access WINZ kiosks, Kim Dotcom debacle, Urewera 8 illegal surveillance, Teapotgate, etc

  3. Anne 3

    Grant Robertson gave a speech to our local members on the Shore last night. His grasp of the GCSB legislation is very impressive. He spoke passionately about his deep concerns… so much so I would be more than happy if he was to represent Labour at the GCSB protest on the 19th August. I understand Labour will be sending a speaker.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Grant can certainly connect with audiences when he speaks in person.

    • Jilly Bee 3.2

      Anne, Grant Robertson will be on Citizen A (Face TV) on Thursday evening with Martyn Bradbury – I believe Dr Rodney Harrison QC is the other guest.

  4. Rogue Trooper 4

    The GCSB may not have much “spare capacity” by the time the neo-libs have finished making and un-making law. There’ll be more surveillance than subjects to survey.

  5. tricledrown 5

    Primitive primate you like john keys supporters came down in the last shower.

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