Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Napier J.P.Resigns Following Passage of GCSB Amendment Bill

Napier J.P.Resigns Following Passage of GCSB Amendment Bill


Yesterday, Parliament passed the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill, making it possible for New Zealand citizens and residents to be spied on in a new manner which contradicts the New Zealand Bill of Rights.

Today, Dr Robin Gwynn submitted his resignation as a Justice of the Peace and as a warrant Issuing Officer, with immediate effect.

JPs are judicial officers, and Dr Gwynn said he could not in conscience continue in these unpaid appointee roles with their legal implications, for a country which so lightly dismisses the fundamental rights of its citizens.

‘The reason that the original Bill of Rights came into being’, Dr Gwynn said, ‘was that people came to realise that while governments are necessary, they are also potentially so dangerous to their subjects that some basic bounds must be set to their powers.

‘Powers to spy on civilians are, and rightly should be, exceptional – granted only when there is demonstrable cause to suspect particular individuals, at which point the public good overrides their natural rights.

‘But here we have an Act which enables widespread state spying on New Zealanders, and couples it with the ability to collect and retain “incidentally obtained intelligence”.

‘This is not a power that should be held by ANY democratic government, of any country or any political colour or ideology.

‘It doesn’t make any difference even if the Prime Minister of the day is the most trustworthy person in the world. It is a power that simply should not exist.

‘And if the Bill of Rights is to be amended, it should not be possible to do so against the will of most New Zealanders, under urgency, against the best legal advice, without a significant majority in Parliament, and without full and proper explanation and discussion.’

Dr Gwynn explained this was a matter on which he felt very strongly because his entire professional life as a historian had focused on the 1680s, the decade that culminated in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. That Bill was on our own statute book until it was replaced by the New Zealand equivalent in 1990.

‘For many years, my research has been about people made refugees in large numbers, not because they did anything wrong – they were mostly peace-loving, hard-working citizens - but simply because their government did not like their ideas.

‘If we can’t learn obvious lessons from history, we are condemned to repeat its mistakes. The lesson of the period I study is that there are some powers with which NO government should ever be trusted.

‘It is ironic that the Prime Minister has used this week the very same mantra - that he could always be trusted - which was used by the apologists of the King whose actions brought about the original Bill of Rights.

‘And when the government of our own country in 2013 so frequently abuses its trust, when the Defence Force cannot distinguish between journalists and potential terrorists, when ACC cannot control leaks damaging to defenceless individuals, when even our Parliamentary Service will just hand over private phone records, the need for vigilance could hardly be more obvious.’

Robin has been a JP for fifteen years. He said, ‘I will be sorry not to be able to join again with my fellow JPs, with whom I was celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Hawke’s Bay Justices of the Peace Association earlier this month. As we were then reminded, the work of JPs is about “people helping people”. Those undertaking it are interesting people with a strong ethos of community service. I wish them well in their on-going efforts for our community.

‘I will also regret being unable to make fuller use of the qualification as Issuing Officer which I achieved last year after considerable time and study and which was intended to be for the benefit of the common good.

‘But I’ve spent my life studying what happens when a government acts without proper regard for fundamental rights and when it claims, and abuses, unreasonable powers. I cannot in conscience be party, however remotely, to such a process. So I have no choice but to resign.

‘I look forward to the day when our Bill of Rights is secured against all infringements from governments with short-term agendas and an unreasonable wish to act in haste.’


ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news