Yes, that’s right. An important bill with major human rights implications, and we have one day to speak up about it. The consistency of this with our democratic norms is left as an exercise for the reader.
Still, we need to submit. While National is wholly committed to the spy deep state, its support partners and opposition parties aren’t. Every other party is extremely uncomfortable with these measures. And while the committee has a solid National majority and will rubberstamp whatever the Prime Minister wants, there’s a good chance that the bill will at least be toned down in order to secure a majority for the second reading. While I’d prefer to see it defeated (and the spies who asked for it sacked and their agencies disbanded), any improvement would be good.
I’ve just completed my submission on John Key’s Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. In the past I’ve posted my submissions, but that has tended to lead to a bunch of people copy-pasting them, which has in turn reduced their impact (MP’s hate spam-submissions). So I’ll post it tomorrow, and instead do a quick guide on how to write your own. Remember, submissions are due tomorrow, so write fast!
Some points you may want to make:
- The government has not made a case for the inadequacy of the current passport regime. In particular, it hasn’t explained why a one-year cancellation / refusal is insufficient, or why going to court to get an extra year doesn’t work. Indeed, there’s no evidence at all that they’ve ever gone to court to extend a cancellation.
- The ability to cancel the passports of people overseas creates a risk of rendering people stateless and constitutes a de facto sentence of exile imposed by Ministerial fiat.
- The ability to suspend a passport for 10 days without evidence is (by definition) an arbitrary infringement of people’s freedom of movement, and makes all our international travel subject to Ministerial whim.
- The ability to use secret evidence in appeals against these actions violates the right to justice and undermines the credibility of the courts. They should have learned this from Ahmed Zaoui.
- Giving the police and SIS access to Customs data effectively circumvents the safeguards on their search powers, at least where the target of an investigation may be travelling overseas.
- Visual surveillance is highly intrusive, and given their past poor judgement and collection of irrelevant material, the SIS cannot be trusted with such powers.
- 48-hour emergency surveillance powers seem designed to circumvent existing safeguards, while permitting the SIS to retain anything “interesting” they find. There are other solutions, including designating alternative Ministers who can approve warrants (as is done for the GCSB). In cases of real emergancy, such as a threat to life, the police already have the necessary powers, and cases should be turned over to them.
- The short period permitted for submissions is ab abuse of the democratic process.
Once you’ve written it, you can submit through the online form here. Remember, you’ve now got less than 24 hours to do so, so be quick about it.
What time do submissions have to be in by? Is it 5pm?
The granting of 48 hour warrantless surveillance power to the SIS on private building is a step too far.
Such a power requires a deep trust of the SIS and those responsible for them.
Under the current government we have seen a need to change the law to make legal some dubious behaviour by the SIS, the PM loosening the security of information between the SIS and the PM, by making information more widely disseminated and therefore harder to account to, the SIS itself releasing misleading information to the PM which ends up being used to wrongly smear an opponent and the revelation that our PM is not truthful, even about things that happened only hours before being asked about it ( texts with cameron slater)
To pass this law requires huge trust and faith in the SIS and the PM and the AG to act properly and not for political ends.
Given all of the above that trust needs to be re-earned before such ranging power is given.
The UK has given til May 2015 for public submissions. Having suffered several acts of terrorism since July 2005 you might think it were they behaving with distasteful haste, not us.
Let us slow down, build trust back in the SIS, the PM and the AG before giving them unprecedented power over private citizens who are presumed innocent until proven guilty within a set of parameters which have served us well for over 160 years.
Tracey, even I did trust any of them, I would see absolutely no need for these powers. They have more than enough already.
I agree. Matt Hooton made a good point on the radio the other night though.
He said, and I’m paraphrasing, that he doesn’t care if the SIS are spying on him, reading his texts, listening to his phone calls, but if they do they’re supposed to keep all that information SECRET and not pass it on to dickheads like John Key and Cameron fucking Slater.
Well good for Matthew Hooton, but I’m not him. If they have the info, they’ll use it. I have never come across any good reason to trust squirrels.
Oh I agree entirely. What I like about Matthew’s point though is that it gives even the most naive and trusting citizen a tangible reason to oppose the expansion of surveillance.
done. Thanks Tracey, I have changed quite a bit of your submission, but it was very helpful to me.
Couple of questions as I’m not 100% with some lines in this Bill.
1.1.3 any unlawful activity designed or likely to cause devastating or serious economic damage to New Zealand, carried out for purposes of commercial or economic gain
Is it me, or does this say – what ever the minister at the time want’s it to say. This is so open ended it’s frightening. Also note – this line is repeated throughout the bill.
1.2.a the person is a danger to the security of a country other than New Zealand
So we rely on 5 eyes on that, or some Minister from some jack boot dictatorship? This is sickening on so many levels. Please I’d love to hear others thoughts.
And it suggests the focus is squarely on assisting companies in protectionism, funded by the taxpayer, rather than risk to lives
I sent the following. I didn’t do a detailed submission because others are better at that. I just wanted to get my disgust across:
The SIS, the GCSB, and the Police already have enough powers to keep Aotearoa safe. The threat of terrorism is virtually nil and will remain so as long as we do not send our children to fight in other people’s wars.
The main threats to our democracy come from the childish irresponsibility of John Key in the way he oversees the security agencies. Who voted for Cameron Slater, who seems to be the PM’s chief advisor?
The Green Party and New Zealand First should vehemently oppose this Bill. Labour, the other half of our governing tag team, should take a stand as well. It is not good enough for the leader of the opposition to call on the PM to “Cut the crap” and then vote for an intensification of the authoritarian nature of the state.
I heard on radio that Finlayson when questioned about the short time for submissions said they were just chit chat anyway.
Interesting panel discussion on Q+A this morning (30 Nov):