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The Standard

Surveillance state

Written By: - Date published: 9:26 am, October 16th, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: law and "order", national, Spying - Tags: ,

One of the most dishonest, yet most successful tactics of National in opposition was to rant on and on about the “Nanny state”. Here’s John Key fairly foaming at the mouth:

I’ve had nine years of being told what lightbulb I can screw into the house, what shower I can take, what food I can eat, what things I can do, what thoughts I am allowed to have.

Count them – five progressively stupider lies in one sentence! But it all gets taken seriously by the media, and the “Nanny state” meme does its damage. I must confess that it amuses me now to watch this meme turning on its master, and the growing horror of far right voters as they face the realisation that this government is a far bigger nanny than Labour ever was. In just a few short months National have stuck to their guns on Section 59 reform (Bravo!), want to ban cell phones for drivers, are planning revisions to alcohol limits, are regulating cold medication and other products, are banning certain kinds of chainsaws. Nanny is even reminding us to brush our teeth at night. Eventually even The Herald had to ask “Is National also guilty of ‘nanny-state’ policies?“. Umm, that would be a yes, yes they are.

The serious side to all this is that we might just switch off and stop paying attention to claims of state interference. That would be a disaster, because some kinds of interference are a lot more significant than others. Heads up people, here’s two current bills that we should really be taking seriously. Both were introduced by the last Labour government, both are (in my opinion) dangerously flawed, and both are being advanced by the current government (Simon Power). The first is the “Search and Surveillance Powers Bill”. While some of its aims make sense (there’s a balanced evaluation here) in other respects it goes too far. Concerns have been expressed by the Privacy Commissioner as reported in this morning’s Herald here, and are strongly stated in this summary:

Govt plans to increase surveillance powers

Activists say the Government’s plans to extend police powers of search and surveillance effectively lead New Zealand toward a police state – but the Government says the bill is aimed at improving powers to catch real criminals.

“Anybody who’s arrested or detained, police have the right to go an search their place without a warrant,” says activist Annemarie Thorby. “We are going down an extremely dangerous line in terms of democracy in this country,” says activist Graham Howell.

The bill is intended to enable police and regulators to catch criminals with more up-to-date techniques. It will see homes or businesses searched without a warrant. Police carrying out greater surveillance using any available technique, including searching computers without a warrant – and that means everything on the computer, not just what’s of initial interest, and it could be done remotely – effectively hacking. Also, people will be forced to answer questions, losing the right to silence.”

The second bill is the “Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill”, described by Labour MP Charles Chauvel at Red Alert here:

Parliament is in the process of passing the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill. It would allow the Police to take DNA samples when they arrest anyone.

I can see the possibilities for better crime prevention in this proposal. But I’m troubled by the lack of any checks and balances in the Bill. A similar English law was set aside by the European Cout of Human Rights on that ground, and the Attorney-General has certified that the NZ Bill breaches the NZ Bill of Rights Act.

I put an amendment up tonight, further to a Labour caucus resolution, that would have required the Police to get a warrant before taking DNA. … The Greens, Progressives and Maori Party voted with Labour for the amendment. Peter Dunne voted against. So did ACT (so much for being ‘the liberal party’). And so did the Nats, without really bothering to say why. I guess they think it will play well out in talkbackland. … Not a good day for civil liberties.

It is great to see that Labour recognised the problems with the second bill and tried to address them. National blocked that effort and is proceeding with the flawed bill! Labour must now acknowledge the problems with the first bill and move to fix that too. Will National once again ignore feedback and ram this through? Will National bring us warrantless surveillance and DNA sampling, and take away the right to silence? After all their hypocritical posturing about the Nanny state, will National bring us the Surveillance state instead? Those of you who voted for National – was this what you wanted? If not, what are you going to do about it?

19 comments on “Surveillance state”

  1. BLiP 1

    You didn’t mention the most “nannyish” of the National Ltd®’s policies – remember the OECD report on child poverty – at the time in a hastily scrambled together pile of non-responses, Basher Bennett promised that hospital staff would talk to all new parents in Auckland City about the dangers of shaking babies. Nothing’s happened, of course. She also promised that there would be an “expert” forum brought together to discuss the poverty situation in October – that uncosted iniative still hasn’t happened, I see from Basher’s site she is now saying she expects to hear something “before the end of the year”.

    And now National Ltd® wants the police to wander in and out of my home without a warrant – this from the party with a “Vision For New Zealand” that includes “individual freedom and choice . . . personal responsibility . . . and limited government”!! – 111 – !!!

  2. roger nome 2

    lol – reality truly is stranger than fiction at times. What a tangled web we weave Mr Key!

  3. rocky 3

    On the first bill – it was originally put up by Annette King in the last parliamentary term. Simon Power has now adopted it with very few changes. I understand Charles Chauvel and Lianne Dalziel are now responsible inside the Labour caucus.

    While National are now the main target on this issue since they are in government, one mustn’t forget that pressure is urgently needed on Labour on this issue to stop them voting for it.

    Keith Locke is on the Law and Order Select Committee for the Greens, and he’s not hopeful that the extreme surveillance powers will be removed.

    The thing is this bill originated with the need for the law to keep up with technology. Great motive, and there are some good parts to the bill in that respect. The problem is, rather than putting appropriate safeguards in place where there are issues of civil liberties, they seem to be simply trying to blanket make everything done by law enforcement legal.

    So when is Labour going to wake up? They haven’t cared about these issues before (as I well know from my very personal experiences).

    • r0b 3.1

      pressure is urgently needed on Labour on this issue to stop them voting for it.

      Hear hear! It’s OK to make mistakes drafting legislation, it’s hard to get right, that’s why we have a proper parliamentary process.

      It isn’t OK to ignore those mistakes once they are pointed out and ram through flawed legislation. Which is what National (and their frequent abuse of urgency) seem to be about to do.

      (And to save some Righty the effort, yes Labour’s draft EFB was flawed too, but most of the mistakes were caught and fixed by the proper process to produce the EFA, which National now seem to want to keep mostly as is.)

      • Quoth the Raven 3.1.1

        It’s OK to make mistakes drafting legislation, it’s hard to get right, that’s why we have a proper parliamentary process.

        Ignoring civil liberties is just a mistake in drafting? You should ask the question why they thought to put such things in the draft in the first place. It’s part of pattern from Labour they are after all the party that eroded civil liberties with the Terrorism suppression act and who constantly cranked up the law and order bullshit ever higher the entire time they were in power. As No Right Turn points out Labour “has culture of contempt for the BORA”.

        It seems it doesn’t matter who you vote for you’ll get Labtional in power and the assault on our liberty that it entails.

        • r0b 3.1.1.1

          Ignoring civil liberties is just a mistake in drafting? You should ask the question why they thought to put such things in the draft in the first place

          I haven’t read the bills, I don’t know if the excessive powers were (1) the explicit point of the legislation (I hope not! – if so Labour got it badly wrong) or (2) the result of possible readings of poorly drafted clauses (which would be understandable as it is hard to create new powers as necessary to modernise without risking having them over general).

          Either way the question is what happens next. Labour tried to patch the second bill but National are forcing it through. Both Labour and National now need to make their position on the first bill clear…

  4. I despair when I realise how little people in general think about this sort of intrusion and what it means. It is, for historical and philosophical reasons, one of the major points of intersection between (some of) the Left and Libertarian Right. National should be isolated in Parliament on this.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    After all their hypocritical posturing about the Nanny state, will National bring us the Surveillance state instead?

    Of course they will – they’re full on authoritarians.

  6. Lew 6

    This isn’t nanny state — it’s just common sense.

    Only a fasocialist wouldn’t not be unable to see that.

    L

    • IrishBill 6.1

      Don’t you have better things to do today than mock-troll the Standard?

      • Lew 6.1.1

        Mockery isn’t directed at The Standard, it’s directed at the real trolls — the people who make these sorts of arguments for reals.

        L

        • lprent 6.1.1.1

          When I’m moderating I scan the comment content and my hackles rise when I see yours. It takes a time to notice who, drop into the comment stream to find out why, and then let the hackles drop. That was what Irish was referring to…. It is irritating for moderators.

          Besides your mockery is too modest – try reading big_bruv unmoderated posting (not just commenting) on Clint Heines blog. Look at the post on doing jury service if you want to get a true parody of a human being.

        • r0b 6.1.1.2

          Isn’t it odd that there’s a distinct absence of real trolls! Looks like no one at all is going to defend these bills.

          But they will come to pass unless people stand up an oppose them. Hello – Herald – time to dust of those “Democracy Under Attack” banners!

  7. Lew 7

    Honestly, it just gets a bit dull typing variations on ‘Yes, I agree’ over and again. I’ve even been agreeing with Marty recently; I don’t know what’s gotten into me. Or yous fullas.

    I do have better things I ought to be doing.

    L

  8. The Voice of Reason 8

    “Isn’t it odd that there’s a distinct absence of real trolls! Looks like no one at all is going to defend these bills.”

    It’s not odd at all, r0b, it’s just cowardice.

    Yesterday, Irish Bill banished Timmy, the King of all the Trolls, to a month in the wilderness and now the little trolls are too scared to come out of the cave.

    • Kevin Welsh 8.1

      I have noticed the same. Its been gold for those on the left the last couple of weeks and the wingnut apologists have been conspicuous by their absence.

      Would just like to see Labour go for he jugular a little more as it would be nice to see Smith tip over the edge finally. Completely out of his depth on ACC and ETS.

      Alice tried his usual bullshit on Red Alert yesterday and got nailed good and proper. Made my day :-)

  9. Rex Widerstrom 9

    This all ties back in to the Bakshi thread (or at least my comment therein). It’s an unholy trade-off between politicians and the police and it has to stop. Or be stopped. And it’s clear we can’t look to Labour to stand up for our freedoms when they’re busy colluding on ways to destroy them.

    And let’s not forget the fact that some time ago our own Chief Justice tried telling us the Emperor has no clothes when it comes to “justice” and was attacked by National to the craven silence of Labour.

    And ironically today another Chief Justice is trying to tell citizens that politicians and the media are lying to them:

    Chief Justice Wayne Martin said the government was responding to problems that did not exist.

    “Alarm arises from the fact that public perception appears to be driving public policy, and in particular driving the parliamentary branch of government to respond to perceived problems, which do not in fact exist,” he told journalism students.

    “Many in our community consider that our community is being swamped by a wave of crime of tsunami-like proportions, to which the judiciary is responding insipidly with increasingly lenient sentences. Neither of these things is true.”

    And the Attorney General’s response?

    “It is a fundamental mistake to think people’s views that crime is increasing are false perceptions created by the media,” he said

    It’s often said there’s only two ways to defend freedom – the bullet or the ballot box.

    Not that I want the first option, but NZ is so apathetic, all the government would need to do is schedule an All Blacks match on the appropriate day and no one would turn up to the Revolution.

    So that rules out bullets. Who’s going to give us the easy option of ticking a ballot box for a party that truly upholds freedom?

    [And kudos r0b, first for highlighting these issues and secondly for accepting Labour’s role in them]

  10. r0b 10

    [And kudos r0b, first for highlighting these issues and secondly for accepting Labour’s role in them]

    I’m not here for the Labour Party Rex, I’m here for a healthy society. I happen to think that the Labour / Green mix is almost always the best way to deliver that, but if they screw up then I’d hope to be one of the ones telling them so.

    And as for the AG: “It is a fundamental mistake to think people’s views that crime is increasing are false perceptions created by the media,’ – the AG needs to get a clue on this issue. The reporting of crime and the manipulation of fears about crime by unethical politicians is a travesty in NZ.

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     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    5 days ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    5 days ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    5 days ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    6 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    6 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    6 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    6 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    6 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    7 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    7 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    1 week ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    1 week ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
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    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 weeks ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    2 weeks ago

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