Sedition Case Depositions Set For June 15
Sedition Charges May Be Used Against Pylon Protesters
Clark - "From Muldoon To Nixon In Only Her Second Term"
Foreshore Act - "White Man's Touch"
The Auckland man facing sedition and conspiracy charges stemming from an axe attack on the Prime Minister's Sandringham electorate office on 18 November last year says issues of civil disobedience and protest are on the line along with the long-term effects of the controversial Foreshore and Seabed Act - the stated reason for the symbolic action. He was appearing at the Auckland District Court today where a depositions hearing was set for the 15th of June.
"Intentional damage is one thing, but attempting to criminalise speech and conscience is quite another in a supposedly open and modern society," says Tim Selwyn. "If the Crown is intent on using war-time offences to subdue people who oppose the government theft of native property and rights then they are opening the door to Pandora's box. Someone has to slam it shut - even if it means I'm the one who gets their fingers pinched in the process. If the Waikato and South Auckland residents who oppose the government's disgraceful plan to march 100 metre tall power pylons through their land are to be taken at their word then they too may be charged with sedition."
Mr Selwyn suggests: "the use of political crimes as a tool puts us into a class of regime that includes Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Turkey and China as states that still use the crime of sedition. Is that Helen's new club?" He says speaking of the country's tainted premier. "It will take 12 citizens to black-ball that membership - and I hope they do," he said referring to a likely jury trial.
"Is it not enough that her beloved United Nations has condemned her divisive confiscation legislation as racist? Is it not enough that she can escape prosecution after prosecution - from speeding to forgery - by claiming some form of newly constituted 'Doctrine of Prime Ministerial Immunity'?" Selwyn rhetorically asks. "She's gone from Muldoon to Nixon in only her second term in office. But not even Muldoon had people charged with sedition!" says Selwyn recalling her supposedly independent officials politicisation and two opposition MPs being charged by the Solicitor-General with various minor offences, "Nixon had to fire three Attorneys-General to get his special prosecutor dumped but Clark just picks up the phone and it's all under the carpet without a cross word. Cullen's installation as Attorney-General without any legal experience is par for the course. To an outsider these antics must look very Third World."
Selwyn thinks that the confiscation effected by the Act was a cynical move: "The Crown is poised to book a multi-billion dollar windfall asset in the form of stolen Maori property. Licences to extract our resources are being negotiated by the Crown and foreign corporations while the ink is barely dry," he said alluding to North Island West coast iron sand dredging, "and if the Crown's (Transpower's) secretive Cayman Island sell-in/lease-out deal is anything to go by parts of (or even our entire) territorial waters may be at risk."
Labeled as "Confiscation Day" in one of the two leaflets that the Crown prosecutors claim are seditious, the New Zealand parliament sitting under urgency passed the bill that saw all legal recourse for Maori to their land below the high water mark revoked and most other claims by non-Maori upheld. MPs voting on the Bill were told only at the last minute what it's contents were after the Labour party hatched a late night deal with the NZ First party to support the legislation. Both formulators of the deal, Labour's Michael Cullen and NZ First's Dale Jones were both born British citizens. "Their law now says that if a white man up until the passing of the law has touched a piece of Maori foreshore then it is lost to them forever without even the flimsy non-existent protection of a patronising "reserve" status. If that's not something British colonials would do - if that's not racism pure and simple - I don't know what is." Selwyn remarked. "I will fight 'The White Man's Touch' as a doctrine of our law until it is defeated."
The name given to the police investigation of the attack is "Operation: Barbarian," which may be an ironic reference to the Prime Minister rather than the perpetrator.
Mr Selwyn was arrested by the police officer in charge of the operation, a detective who is not a New Zealand citizen (being a very recent British immigrant) for sedition on 15 December 2004 and is now being charged with the following offences: Conspiracy to commit intentional damage, Crimes Act 1961 s.310 Seditious conspiracy, Crimes Act 1961 s.82 Making a seditious statement, Crimes Act 1961 s.83 These charges are being prosecuted indictably by the Crown as Queen v. Selwyn at the Auckland District Court where depositions are to be taken on 15 June 2005 with a trial expected to follow some months thereafter.
The Police lost their case to keep a night curfew on Mr Selwyn at the Auckland District Court on 11 February 2005 after the Judge ruled that he did not pose a significant risk. Mr Selwyn must still reside at his Grey Lynn address and a 50 metre "exclusion zone" around the Prime Minister's electorate office on Sandringham Rd remains but has not represented an impediment to the enjoyment of near-by Eden Park stadium for Mr Selwyn.
The two allegedly seditious statements are in the form of leaflets left at two Auckland locations on the 18 November 2004, as follows:
NZ Herald reports the flyers at the scene (outside the Prime Minister's electorate office) said:
"Tonight concerned Pakeha vented their anger and disgust at the Government's attempts to steal by confiscation and without consultation, Maori land in the form of the Foreshore and Seabed Bill by attacking the electorate office of the Prime Minister. The broken glass symbolises the broken justice of this issue and we call upon other like-minded New Zealanders to commit their own acts of civil disobedience to send a clear message that such injustice can never be accepted."
The Scoop website has previously published the text of the flyers left on Ponsonby Rd:
This morning concerned Pakeha vented their anger and disgust at the Government’s attempts to steal, by confiscation, Maori land in the form of the Seabed and Foreshore Bill that is currently being disgracefully rammed through Parliament as part of a desperate back-room deal.
By attacking the electorate office of the chief instigator, the Prime Minister – who is due to abandon the mess she created by fleeing the country today – we signal that a threshold has been crossed.
The broken glass symbolises the broken faith, broken trust and shattered justice, our axe symbolises the steadfastness of our determination.
The ruthless Prime Minister will leave behind a vindictive law that will haunt this nation should the M.Ps be mad enough to pass it. Maori M.Ps complicit in this farce will never live down their betrayal.
If this is destined to be Confiscation Day, then we have marked it.
We call upon all like-minded New Zealanders to take similar action of their own to send a clear message that such a gross, blatantly racist injustice to the Maori people will never be accepted.
Ake! Ake! Ake!"
Tim Selwyn is a 31 year-old Auckland writer, reviewer and editor of the political and cultural magazine Tumeke. Currently in preparation the website is www.tumeke.org and has a down-loadable sample issue. Mr Selwyn has a weblog at www.tumeke.blogspot.com. Whilst Mr Selwyn has friends and colleagues across the political and social spectrum he has no current political affiliation and is not a member of any political party - especially Labour.