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

More Evidence - Scoop Press Conference Recordings:
PM's Post-Cab Presser 8/8/11
"at that point [Tucker] told me he'd release it ..."

Hager Revelations: Inquiry Into NZSIS Release Of Goff Docs

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gwyn, announced she would be instituting an inquiry concerning allegations that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) might have released official information to Mr Cameron Slater, regarding briefings provided to the then Leader of the Opposition, for political purposes...

“I am satisfied there is a sufficient public interest justifying the commencement of an own-motion inquiry into the substance of the issues raised with my Office,” said Ms Gwyn. More>>

Goff: Director’s Letter Contradicts Key’s Claims

At yesterday’s media standup, when asked on the topic John Key said ‘I wasn’t told’...
“In a letter dated November 2011 former SIS director Warren Tucker states three times that ‘in accordance with the usual practice of keeping the minister informed’ the Prime Minister had been told. More>>


 

Parliament Today:

Schools, PPTA Sign Up: Primary Teachers And Principals Vote Down Govt Plan

Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Usual Round Of Mud Slinging And Name-Calling

This week gave an interesting example of how hard it is to untangle the reality from the slanging matches. The issue that emerged early this week could hardly be more important. Does the government intend to cut spending in health, education and on the environment if re-elected, or not? More>>

Earlier:

Electionresults.co.nz: National and NZ First Rise in Roy Morgan Poll

National has bounced back in the latest Roy Morgan Poll but the big winner has been New Zealand First who rise to their highest level of support since September 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Fish Pun Warning: By Hoki! It’s Labour’s Fisheries Policy

A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. More>>

ALSO:

It's Official: Governor General Gives Direction To Conduct Election

The Governor General has signed the writ directing the Electoral Commission to conduct the General Election on 20 September 2014. This is the formal authority to run the 2014 election, and enables candidate nominations to open tomorrow Thursday 21 August 2014. More>>

Gordon Campbell: No More Mr Nice Guy

When future historians seek to identify the exact moment when the prime ministerial career of John Key hit the downward slope, they may well point to Key’s interview yesterday with Guyon Espiner on RNZ’s Morning Report. More>>

ALSO:

Dirty (Politics) Weekend: Collins’ Admission Reason For Key To Act

"Despite claiming that the evidence about her in Nicky Hager's book was ‘false’ Judith Collins has now been forced to admit that she did send information about a Ministerial Services staff member to Cameron Slater for him to use in a baseless smear campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Potential Disasters: Underground Coal Fire On Denniston Plateau

Forest & Bird says one or more coal fires have broken out beneath the Denniston Plateau, and that the Department of Conservation (DOC) must stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work going on there until the fire or fires are extinguished. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news