Opaque transparency

by Lord Sutch
Picture Godwin!

Picture Godwin!

It takes a lot to make me write about current events. Usually because I’m not a creative thinker – so much so that mostly everyone else says what I was thinking anyway. But reading this Stuff article has really worried me.

Ridiculous headline aside – “Secret death panel planned” – (when you use a term coined by Sarah Palin you may want to rethink your editorialising) – it’s a horrifying read.

The world is crying out for transparency. We want to understand more and more of what our governments are doing. It seems a fair trade as them seem to desperately want to know more and more of what we’re doing – you show us yours, we’ll show you ours.

But to charge an in-house military panel with the review of all deaths in combat is to lessen that transparency. It is asking New Zealanders to just “trust us, we know what we’re doing, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it”. But this has been a catch-cry of this Government for a long time. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but holy shit, the totality of the bills passed or presented by this Government that seem to impinge upon our rights and liberties is staggering. Let’s take a look shall we:

  • This new system that removes the coroner’s right to review deaths in combat and tasks that in-house. To a group of of people who would in no way have a vested interest in the outcome. Cough.
  • GCSB/TICSA – giving up our online freedoms so that we can be protected from terrorists while at the same time not allowing us to know what’s being stored.
  • Rushed through the Foreign Fighters’ Bill under urgency which allows for warrantless surveillance for 24 hour. Oh there’s a suspicion you might be doing something terroristy? Why we can now check you out without a warrant because WEREN’T YOU LISTENING? TERRORISTY
  • Removed Environment Canterbury’s councillors, thus taking away a little piece of democracy
  • Taking New Zealand into a war based on “guts” it would seem. Key wants us to go and fight for democracy when he didn’t even put the choice to go to that war to a democratic vote.
  • Three strikes legislation. Yay!
  • Canterbury Earthquake Response Bill which allowed for decisions to be made unilaterally
  • The Hobbit Bill – which anti-collectivised actors and made them all contractors, stripping away workers’ rights
  • Projects Cortex and Speargun – data harvesting exercises that we weren’t supposed to know about but oopsy daisy got brought into the light by Greenwald
  • The clusterfuck that was the GCSB spying on New Zealand citizens and then retroactively attempting to make it legal.

And by doing it piecemeal they’re getting away with it. This Government is still staggeringly popular. And I’m alarmed that we’re giving up our liberties, little bit, by little bit – which is exactly how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

I have already written a long piece on why privacy is so important but nothing’s changed for the better. It’s getting worse. We can’t keep relying on John Campbell to save us. I’ve also written the verbal equivalent of conspiracy wank on how Governments seem to be allowing the terrorists to win but still we do nothing.

That’s not to say that I believe people read this blog then run to their sheds to get their pitchforks, but I’m thinking that I’m going to have to get off the keyboard and out onto the streets. Because this shit is getting worse. And I’m getting agitated.


Side note: despite standing me up when I was in Auckland last, Jess McAllen is fast becoming one hell of a journalist. Her stories of late have ranged from cultural norms (Tinder!) to this one on changes to the Coroners’ Act. Nice work Jess.


You may also like

1 comment

Ken Sparks March 2, 2015 - 10:00 am

I totally agree – being a keyboard activist is one thing but taking to the streets has got to be more effective. This Saturday, March 7th is the next opportunity for mass protest -this time against the iniquitous TPPA…


Leave a Comment