For Immediate Release
Pirate Party Support Day of Action Against Spying Bills
Members of the Pirate Party of New Zealand will be supporting today’s public marches against the two government surveillance bills currently before parliament, the GCSB and Related Legislation Amendment Bill, and the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill.
The Pirate Party urge parliamentarians to take heed of the strong criticism the bills have attracted from many public organisations charged with protecting our democratic rights and freedoms, including the Law Society, the Law Commission, and the Human Rights Commission. Law Commission Chairman Sir Grant Hammond pointed out that the bills have been hurriedly and poorly drafted, with no clear definition of basic terms such as “private communication”. David Rutherford, Chief Commissioner of The Human Rights Commission, was so concerned about the implications of the bills he released a special report to the Prime Minister saying “the proposed bills are wide-reaching without sufficient safeguards against abuse of power.”
“Party members have a range of views on what forms of state spying are necessary to the public good, if any,” said Party Communications Manager Danyl Strype, “but there is a broad consensus that an ‘always-on’ mass surveillance system breaches our basic human right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure by authorities, and the rush to legalise what is currently illegal spying on New Zealand residents, without a thorough independent investigation of the GCSB and its existing legislation, is a pitiful neglect of duty by government. The Pirate Party demands the government withdraw these bills, tear them up, and start again.”
This echoes the view of The NZ Council for Civil Liberties, whose submission to the Intelligence and Security Select Committee stated in no uncertain terms, “The Council believes very strongly that there is no genuine necessity for this kind of legislation, and that the proper course is to withdraw the Bill.” Other public watchdog organisations also oppose the bills, including Tech Liberty and Internet NZ.
Spokespeople from the Information and Communication Technology industry have stated publicly that the bills, if passed, would negatively affect New Zealand’s economic participation in this highly competitive global industry. “Since the wording of the TICS bill obliges the GCSB to act in defence of New Zealand’s “economic well-being”, I guess they would have to put themselves under surveillance right away if the bill was passed,” said Strype.
Protest actions will take place in at least seven main centres around the country:
Auckland – Aotea Square – 2pm-4pm
Hamilton – Garden Place – 2pm-4pm
Napier – Memorial Square – 2pm-4pm
Wellington – Cuba St Bucket Fountain (2pm) then march to The Beehive
(3pm) for speakers – 2pm-4pm
Nelson – iSite, Halifax St – 2pm-4pm
Christchurch – Bridge of Remembrance – 2pm-4pm
Dunedin – The Octagon – 2pm-4pm