Written By: - Date published: 9:44 am, April 12th, 2013 - 27 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, class war, Conservation, democracy under attack, Ethics, john key, Mining, paula bennett, slippery, Spying, unemployment - Tags: catherine delahunty, chris finlayson, chris trotter, jacinda ardern
I have mentioned before how John Key’s government having been bringing in a range of seemingly small law changes that add up to a major shift. I particularly mentioned it in relation to the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill. This has been debated in the House this week, and is part of a range of things happening and/or revealed this week, that amount to a frightening shift in values and (un)democratic processes: and much of it has been happening in such a stealthy way that many New Zealanders are unaware of the extent of they way many things they hold dear are being whittled away.
In my post on the Crown Mineral Bill, I quoted from Catherine Delahunty’s speech during the second reading, on the unacceptable features buried in the Bill :
It is also the Government’s response to the 30,000 people who marched down Queen Street and the more than 30,000, the 39,000, who made submissions against the mining of schedule 4. So the Government lost the media war. It was seen to have to back down on the issue, but, like any strategist, it had another plan. That plan was amendments to the Crown Minerals Act, and here we see them.
On Wednesday, Parliament Today reported on some of the debates this week. It reports that:
Labour MP Moana Mackey said the Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridge’s last minute plans to bring in tougher penalties for those who protested near offshore oil rigs were an “utter dog’’.
Mackey said it was a sop to encourage more international exploration companies to come here as National had put all its eggs in one basket when it came to economic policy and had run out of ideas.
PT then reports what looks like Chris Finlayson’s attempt to emulate his slippery leader:
Attorney General Chris Finlayson said he was concerned at allegations that the changes were a breach of international law and then ripped into critics such as Geoffrey Palmer who he described as a “ranting Jehovah’’.
The plain meaning of the law was not about protest but about interference of operations on the high sea, he said.
Yesterday Catherine Delahunty issued a press release on the government’s stealthy moves towards mining Schedule 4 land, referring to the way the Bill will enable companies with exploratory permits, to proceed towards mining that land:
The Green Party has obtained legal advice that says an exploratory permit held by Hawkeswood Civil Limited to look for gold and silver in the Firth of Thames, a Schedule 4 area, cannot not be exercised under current law, but might be legal to utilise once the Government’s changes to the Crown Minerals Act are passed. …
“Worryingly, our legal advice also says the changes the Government is making to the Crown Minerals Act may now allow Hawkeswood to undertake their exploratory drilling programme.
Earlier this week I posted on some opposition speeches against current Bills, including Ardern’s on the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill, that was voted into law this week. Jacinda Ardern posted a statement about this
Bill Act later in the day. She berates Bennett for repeating policies that have already been shown to be a failure int he UK.
“Paula Bennett can’t tell us how a sole parent or anyone on a benefit will be more likely to get a job under these reforms….
At Work and Income, staff face a ratio of 1 case worker to 155 clients and 1 to 388 for non-work obligated clients. With another 84,000 clients projected to have extra work obligations, people will no longer get the help they need.
Adding to the above disturbing changes, yesterday Chris Trotter posted an analysis of the Kitteridge Report . He explains that John Key has already made changes to bring the intelligence services into one “intelligence community” under his sole authority. These changes were begun by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet in 2009, and continued into 2012.
Trotter argues that the Dotcom case has exposed the way Key’s ad hoc changes have amalgamated, consolidated and extended the reach of the security services as part of one entity. The separation of internal security services (SIS) and the GCSB (supposed to protect NZ against external threats), among other things, protects against one agency becoming too powerful and autocratic, and against them being used to curb Kiwis’ rights and democratic freedoms.
Trotter goes on to argue that Key’s rush to make GCSB illegal activities of spying on kiwis legal, is an attempt to ensure his existing changes stick before Kiwis become to aware of their significance:
Hence the mad rush towards a comprehensive legislative fix. The de facto unification of New Zealand’s security and intelligence work, under the rubric of ODESC [Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Co-ordination] and the DPMC [Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet], needs to be given de jure protection – and fast!
All this is enabled by an MSM that seem to think Fourth Estate is a new greenfield residential development. What will it take to for more Kiwis to become aware of the way their democracy is being stealthily dismantled away from the public glare?