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Fundamental constraint on freedom becomes law

21 August 2013

Fundamental constraint on freedom becomes law

The National Government, along with Peter Dunne and John Banks, have signed away significant freedoms of New Zealanders by passing the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) legislation tonight, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said.

“This legislation is a fundamental constraint on the freedom of New Zealanders. It restricts our freedom of expression and our right to live without surveillance,” said Dr Norman.

“Tonight in Parliament we were forced to fight for the basic principles of freedom that so many before us had fought to establish. This is a very sad day.

“The powers of the GCSB are now expanded to allow this foreign intelligence agency to spy on New Zealanders. This agency now has the power to access New Zealanders communications and obtain warrants to monitor whole classes of New Zealand citizens.

“Throughout the debate on this bill countless leading law professionals and highly respected New Zealanders concluded that these changes to the law were inconsistent with the freedom of expression and New Zealanders’ rights under the law.

“Yet Prime Minister John Key has time and time again denigrated anyone who dared to differ with him on this issue and has actively tried to confuse the public on this bill.

“This law change comes at a time when the world is debating these exact issues of protecting our freedom in an environment where security is under scrutiny.

“This National Government is seeking to constrain significant freedoms of New Zealanders in order to facilitate this global surveillance state that we know exists.

“The Green Party vehemently opposed this bill tonight to defend the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of expression and the freedom to not live in a surveillance state.”

ends

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Gordon Campbell:
On First Time Voting (Centre Right)

For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

One guest columnist will be from the centre right, one from the centre left. Today’s column is from the centre right – by James Penn:

As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

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