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 Labour’s Fudging On Child Poverty, And America’s Diplomatic Dance With Iran

If you want a good insight into what the limits of tiny, barely discernible steps to reduce poverty actually look like, delve into the latest Statistics Department figures on poverty in New Zealand Most of the nine measures utilised reveal little or no progress in combatting poverty over the 21 months to March 2020... More>>


 

Government: Reserve Bank To Take Account Of Housing In Decision Making

The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into ... More>>

ALSO:


RNZ: Alert Levels Remain

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says at least half of the Papatoetoe High School community have been tested and the results that have come through so far have all been negative... More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: Latest Release Of Child Poverty Statistics

All measures of child poverty were trending downwards, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, across the two years since year ended June 2018, Stats NZ said today. The COVID-19 lockdown in late March 2020 affected Stats NZ’s ability to collect data from households ... More>>

ALSO:


NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

The Dig: An Illogical Ideological Struggle

Dig beneath all the trade wars and the arguments to the effect that the USA should not permit China to achieve economic and technological superiority, or even parity, and you find the real reason behind the conflict... More>>

Travel: Government Eases Visa Restrictions For Visitors In New Zealand

Visitor visa holders will be able to stay in New Zealand a little longer as the Government eases restrictions for those still here, the Minister of Immigration has announced. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels