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Winston Peters Speech To GCSB Bill Public Meeting

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader

19 August 2013


Speech: GCSB Bill Public Meeting
Venue: Auckland Town Hall
Monday 19 August, 7pm

The issue we face is not whether we have security agencies or not New Zealanders are realists. We live in an imperfect, often evil world.

We need to have security agencies such as the GCSB. 

We need leadership on issues of national security that we can trust.

And to ensure we get that trust we first need laws that we can trust.

The real issues are:
·        How much new power are we giving the GCSB?
·        How do we have effective oversight of the GCSB?
·        How do we avoid relying on one person –the Prime Minister – to safeguard our civil liberties?

New Zealands First’s proposals on the Bill address all three questions.  
When the proposed legislation for the GCSB arose we took the Prime Minister at his word.

He said he wanted broad parliamentary support for the new legislation.

New Zealand First believes that broad parliamentary support is critical for such legislation because the security and safety of our citizens should be our number one concern

So we offered a constructive way forward for a robust - workable oversight of the GCSB.

Sadly the Prime Minister has acted in bad faith.

There was only the pretence of building a wider agreement.

The moment he got the one vote he needed from Peter Dunne any thought of seeking broad Parliamentary support vanished.

Not one National MP has dissented from the current GCSB Bill.

George Orwell had a phrase for that – GroupThink.

National are telling the country “If you are not with us; you are against us, and you’ve got something to hide”.

What an odious view the Government and its ‘Klingons’ take of their fellow New Zealanders!

The proposed law will be clearly explained tonight by those who understand its ambit.

Again, the real issues are these.

First, the GCSB was an International Spy Agency.  It will now also become a domestic spy agency.

Second, the GCSB’s intelligence powers and its functions were constrained. They will now be seriously widened.

Third, the GCSB could previously not legally spy on New Zealander’s, New Zealand organisations or New Zealand businesses. Now it can.

Fourth, under existing law all manner of domestic information data is off limits for the GCSB. Now it is not.

Fifth, today a warrant seeking agency has to explain the particular or general threat to national security posed by an individual. Now, if accessing metadata, no such explanation is required.

Sixth, no such explanation is required if private communicating parties should have contemplated that their communication could be accessed by a third party. This might sound complex but this reads like an excuse for hacking let alone an out of control security agency.

What is worryingly clear is that Mr Key does not understand his law. Otherwise why does he plan to make a parliamentary statement in the Bills Third Reading as guidance to the Courts.

Hitherto, our Judges had New Zealand case precedent, Commonwealth, and other precedent to guide them. Now they have John Key’s guidance by way of a speech.  This is thoroughly bad law. This is an admission by the Prime Minister that his law is a clear and present danger to the freedoms and values of New Zealanders.

New Zealand First wants a secure New Zealand – but we will not support legislation that makes our Prime Minister all powerful.

Even if you thought John Key was as trustworthy, benign and beneficent as Mother Teresa you would be mad to put so much unbridled power into the hands of one person with such a flimsy understanding of hard fought civil liberties.

We ask the Prime Minister and his colleagues even at this eleventh hour to think again.


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