Why “The Pirate Party”?

It’s often been suggested that using a name like “The Pirate Party” will drive away potential supporters and voters. We disagree.

Those that promote increasingly restrictive copyright laws often use emotive language to further their cause, and that the label ‘pirates’ in particular is something of an absurdity. We adopt the label ourselves partly to draw attention to how language is used to shape the discussion and partly to ‘take over’ the meaning of the work for our own purposes. And no matter what name we chose it would come to be associated with currently copyright-infringing file-sharing activity because legalising such activity is one of our core policies, so we might as well start by using a name which is already associated with that.

There’s also a successful pirate party movement in 40 countries, including a number of registered pirate parties. Sweden has 2 MEP’s and other parties have assorted seats in national or local government. We’re happy to be associated with all of that too.

In the 50’s and 60’s there was a pirate radio movement which had in some ways similar goals. Outdated regulations over radio broadcasting limited the use of transmitter technology of the time, much the same way that outdated copyright laws limit how user want to use computers and p2p technology today. Pirate radio wanted to broadcast commercially and commercial broadcasting was illegal so they ‘broke the law’. Now-days those people (eg Radio Hauraki) are proud of their pirate history and the part they played in getting those laws changed.

Are you a single-issue party?

We have a platform of promotion of civil liberties in the areas of information and technology, including liberalising copyright and patent laws, and protecting privacy and freedom of speech, especially in relation to the Internet. We aren’t a single issue party as such, but we are focused on a narrow range of issues. We are concerned that governments are promoting the interests of a small but influential minority in regards to these issues, and we seek to change this. We don’t, at this time, intend to develop policy or have official views on issues outside these areas. Our aims don’t fit exclusively at either end of the political spectrum, and our members have a variety of personal views on other issues.

Can I vote for the Pirate Party in the next General Election?

Currently the Pirate Party of New Zealand is not a registered political party. We can not yet contend the party vote, although we can stand candidates in electorates. We are aiming to become a registered party and hope that this will give us the means to exert real political pressure to effect change in copyright and patent legislation, and expand public understanding of the surrounding issues within New Zealand. In order to become a registered party, we must first acquire 500 financial members.

How Can I Help?

If you wish to help you can join the party and/or make a donation, sign up to the website, write an essay, link a story, help with the constitution and policy formulation, contribute on the forums, and use web forums and other social media to encourage wider awareness and discussion of these issues.