Got to start somewhere …

Well, I have to first of all confess to being previously a right wing supporter. Think National/ACT party supporter. Despite my numerous left wing friends pleading to make me see sense, I stuck to my guns. Right up about to the point I found myself living in a really poor area of town (I have my ex partner to thank for that!!), and seeing first hand what really bad social policy does to people that lack the finances or the power to fight back. Right at that point, I had something of an attitude change. For the better.

So now I find myself a paid member of the Green Party, about the only party left with any sense of morals. I went a step further, I joined Amnesty International as well, although that was in part driven by the mad path John Key has put the country into, as of late, the ill conceived, and frankly dangerous GCSB bill. I just regret it has taken me this long to see things for what they really are in this country. I completely missed out on the “Search and Surveillance Bill”, passed last year, which singlehandedly turned Habeous Corpus on it’s head. Dont assume when you are arrested that you will be assumed innocent until proven guilty, or that you will be given a fair trial. Such is the status quo in this country of ours.

So have we really sold out to the US, as some of the “cranks” decry we have? I would argue “yes”, and I intend to demonstrate that in further posts.

For the moment, I will leave you with the reply I received from the ever polite Mr Dunne, querying him as to why he did an about turn on the GCSB bill. Reading between the lines, I would say he is saying “trust us”. Josepth Goebbels said the same thing.

Oh, and for entertainment, I invoked the Official Information Act on the GCSB, just to find out how many attended the protests up and down the country in the weekend (of which I gladly attended). Should be interesting, and I will post it as soon as I get a reply.

Anyway, here is Peter Dunne excusing himself ….

Thank you for contacting about my decision to support the GCSB Bill.

I am doing so simply because I was able to negotiate the following changes to the legislation to give protection to New Zealanders:

• The addition of a set of guiding principles into the legislation and the establishment of a two person advisory panel to assist the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, the Prime Minister has now agreed to the following additional amendments to the legislation which Mr Dunne will move during the Bill’s committee of the whole stage

• The removal of the proposed Order in Council mechanism which would have allowed other agencies to be added to the list of agencies able to request assistance from the GCSB. Any additions beyond the Police, SIS and NZ Defence Force will now be required to be made by a specific amendment to the legislation, and not just by regulation as the Bill currently proposes.

• To ensure effective oversight in the issuing of a warrant the Bill be amended so that the Inspector General is informed when a warrant is put on the register relating to a New Zealander.

• The GCSB will be required to report annually on the number of instances when it has provided assistance to the Police, SIS or NZ Defence Force.

• The GCSB will also be required to report annually on the number of warrants and authorisations issued.

• The Intelligence and Security Committee will hold public hearings annually to discuss the financial reviews of the performance of the GCSB and the SIS.

• There will be an independent review of the operations and performance the GCSB and the NZSIS and their governing legislation in 2015, and thereafter every 5-7 years.
In addition, I will be working alongside the Minister of Justice on the issues raised by the Law Commission’s 2010 report “Invasion of Privacy: Penalties and Remedies.” This review will include the definition of private communication (and metadata) to ensure a standard definition is developed for insertion in the GCSB and NZSIS Acts, and all relevant legislation such as the Crimes Act and the Search and Surveillance Act.

Overall, these changes go a long way towards improving the legislation, the accountability of the GCSB and the transparency of its operations, as well as updating and modernising the definitions of private communications to meet today’s circumstances. The regular review process also means that our intelligence legislation will be able to keep much closer pace with technological and other developments, and that the situation we faced over the Dotcom affair, as an example, will never happen again. I am satisfied that, taken as a whole, my changes address substantially the concerns raised by those who made submissions to the select committee, and are a strong step towards making our intelligence services more accountable. I have set out my views in more detail in my blog, …

Yours sincerely,

Hon Peter Dunne
MP for Ohariu
Leader of UnitedFuture
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