John Campbell didn’t distinguish himself last week when he finally got the chance to interview the Prime Minister about the GCSB Bill. It’s a common situation in modern life: you become interested in someone, you learn everything you can about them, you go on Facebook, ask friends who know a lot about them and then when you get the chance to have a face-to-face, you blow it. Too much pressure.
But as much as Campbell cockblocked his own potential news moment of the year (and created a much needed Nixon “It’s not illegal when the President does it” moment for opponents of the Bill) it would be foolhardy to forget that Key really needed this. Not one week prior, Campbell’s own Rebecca Wright was the one who created the ‘fish clip’ – which you’ve no doubt seen online, in which Key is asked at a press conference about how he thinks New Zealanders feel about the GCSB Bill. Instead of answering, Key suggested Campbell Live’s resources would be better spent on covering the changing snapper quota because we New Zealanders “love to fish”.
Key was fantastic on Campbell last week – he was measured, calm and in control. But this isn’t about which John is smarter, it’s about a set of laws. And laws don’t just matter if they specifically relate to me. They dictate the society that I live in. There’s a ton of laws that don’t affect me directly, how we treat child molesters in our judicial system for example, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a stake in it. It’s this simple fact which I feel has alluded Key over the last few weeks and months. In fact arguably, his term when you consider how many laws have been passed under urgency.
After several meetings with media trainers the Prime Minister may have chosen to analogise the bill to Norton Anti-virus (which as someone who knows anything about PCs recognises is a TERRIBLE analogy but one that will resonate with middle New Zealand) but I’m going to heed the warnings from the experts. Tech Liberty. The Law Society. The Human Rights Commission. These are not two bit, lefty-extremist organisations – And the fact that they have all raised red flags should make us all look at this law very VERY closely.
Today is my birthday and all going to plan, I will be spending this evening at Auckland’s Town Hall protesting this legislation.