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An Attack On One Is An Attack On All

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Heather Roy's Diary" is the weekly newsletter from Heather Roy MP.

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An Attack On One Is An Attack On All

New Zealand can learn a lot from Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which is explicit in stating that an attack on one member state is considered an attack on all.

Organised crime should be treated no differently. To create and run an organisation for the specific purpose of committing crime is to declare war on the society in which these people and their families live. In acknowledging this fact, Government should - as it does in times of war - commit the full power of the State's capability to defend the people from attack.

Is the effect of an enemy bomb or missile any different to the scourge of violence and drugs? Not to the people on the receiving end - they all kill, maim or limit our quality of life.

Forget about banning gang patches. We need to focus on the anti-social behaviour that they represent. We already have plenty of laws to deal with that but, as a society, we appear to lack the will to enforce them. That's why the criminals are getting bolder.

I will soon release ACT's National Security policy, which will expand on how we intend to bring all State and community groups together in order to keep Kiwis safe. In the meantime, I am making it absolutely clear that ACT's 'Zero Tolerance for Crime' and 'Three Strikes' policies are not just about sentencing and parole. Our policy also means that every Government agency - not just the Police - will have a role to play in protecting our communities.

The reasons for this are straightforward. Organised crime is about money. Follow the money, and you find the heads of the groups that see their fellow citizens as 'bunnies' and 'John Does'.

That's why ACT intends to create an Organised Crime Tactical Operations Unit, based on a new statutorily independent Crown Entity. Its focus will be based on tax evasion - after all, that's how Al Capone was finally brought to heel.

We cannot offer hard-working Kiwis a low flat tax system without ensuring that those who would steal from law-abiding citizens are brought to account. In this way, New Zealand can address organised crime, international terrorism and corporate money laundering in one view.

ACT believes in freedom and personal liberty above all else, and any legislative changes to enable the containment of criminals must first pass that test.

We must be realistic: there will never be a time in society when there is no crime, or when all criminals are in jail. But, like fighting terrorism, we can aim to contain these activities to the point where they have little to no effect on our daily lives and find it difficult to recruit young Kiwis to their group.

This is not a new message from ACT, or from me personally. We've been saying it for several years. When ACT began its 'Zero Tolerance' campaign 10 years ago, other Parties dismissed it as 'redneck'. Now they all say it too - but they don't mean it. Perhaps they don't understand the detail of the ACT policy they're attempting to copy?

ACT means it. Perhaps you don't like some of what ACT stands for - but that's no excuse to ignore this issue. You can't have safe streets, same homes and families without an acknowledgement that the Police can't do it alone. Neither should they be put in the difficult position of having to charge people who defend themselves. These are duties that fall to all of us.

If you doubt that, check out who in Parliament blocked the Labour Government's agenda to remove the right of victims to be automatically heard at parole hearings. These rights are now maintained because I put forward amendments to Labour's plan to remove them and got the support of all Parties except the Greens.

It's very simple: an attack on one is an attack on all.

Lest We Forget

Today marks the anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter in 1945.

The term had originally been coined as early as 1941 and was used pretty much synonymously with 'the allied forces' throughout World War II. While a series of political meetings created the UN, I'll limit myself to the first and last.

The first meeting occurred between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Roosevelt on a battleship crossing the Atlantic. At the time the US was not formally involved in hostilities and - although US ships had been sunk by German submarines - it is generally thought that President Roosevelt intended to try to stay out of the war while giving as much support to Britain as he could. But he had to get the war aid through his 'isolationist Congress', and could see that a complete German victory in Europe would be a nightmare for the US.

In our current environment it is easy to forget the mortal danger that democracies were in. The battleship had to change course frequently to avoid German submarines and the news was of German advances into Russia and rising aggression from Japan. But even in that dark time these great men planned for a post war world.

Roosevelt did not want to support an Imperial Britain and made much of people's right to 'self-determination' - principals that became part of the later United Nations Charter.

The final Charter was signed in San Francisco in 1945 by 51 nations. When Montenegro recently joined it was the 192nd member.

The UN's record has been mixed. Critics say it is a monstrous bureaucracy generating huge expense and which, having no army, relies on its members to keep the peace. Some of its successes are large but could never have been anticipated at its inception - such as the UN daughter organisation, the World Health Organisation, annihilating smallpox and saving millions of lives.


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