The Law Society is not exactly a hotbed of leftie activism (more’s the pity!). So the supporters of this appallingly arrogant government should sit up and take notice when they speak out as clearly as this:
Law Society slams spy agency bill
The Law Society has made a stinging attack on proposed law changes governing the GCSB spy agency, saying they effectively transform it from a foreign intelligence agency to a domestic one without any justification being given. …
The Law Society submission, written by Rodney Harrison, QC, says: “It is difficult to identify the pressing and substantial concerns that the bill purports to remedy or address.”
The society recognised the critical role intelligence gathering played in ensuring the security of New Zealand but “extensive and pervasive amendments to the state’s power of surveillance should not be passed by Parliament lightly nor without the fullest extent of debate possible. The Law Society does not consider that sufficient justification has been provided for the proposed reforms”.
The bill allows for greater spying by the agency on New Zealanders in its beefed-up role in cyber security of both government and private sectors. …
“It seems that the underlying objective of the legislation is to give the GCSB powers it lacked previously: the power to conduct surveillance on New Zealand citizens and residents. No explanation or justification for the conferral of this power is given.”
After Peter Dunne’s (so far) principled stand, the Bill’s fate appears to rest in the erratic hands of Winston Peters:
Govt struggling to get support for GCSB bill
United Future leader Peter Dunne says the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) should stick to spying on foreigners.
Mr Dunne said he is worried about the blurring of the boundaries between the GCSB and the Security Intelligence Service, which is responsible for internal security. “I think that boundary needs to be clear and I don’t think the GCSB should under any circumstances have a role in any form of domestic security operation.” Mr Dunne says he will decide whether to support the legislation based on what changes are made before it is referred back to Parliament.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is more sympathetic to the legislation, but says not enough work has been done on the plan to ensure that the country has proper workable security measures to defend the security of New Zealanders. Despite the Government likely to need New Zealand First’s support to get the bill through Parliament, it has made no approach to the party about discussing changes that would make the legislation more acceptable.
Key’s position on all this is shameful. In this piece he claims (again) that the law is unclear:
Prime Minister John Key argues that the bill simply clarifies what the GCSB already does, but the Law Society does not accept that. … “And the bottom line is, that because of difficulties in interpretation in the law, we need to clarify that law, but this is something that has been going on for a very long period of time under previous governments.”
But on the 12th of June he said in Parliament that the law was “very clear”:
But what I can say, though, is that the Government Communications Security Bureau and the SIS have very clear rules under which circumstances they can gather information about New Zealanders.
Key is right when he says that the law is very clear about not spying on New Zelanders. He is lying when he says otherwise to try and cover up the previous actions of the GCSB, and “justify” increased new spying powers that we don’t want and don’t need. For shame.