Jan 152011

Public Meeting: “We don’t need to know what’s happening” with the new SIS Bill
Speakers: Nicky Hager, Journalist & Keith Locke, Green MP
When: Tuesday 1 February 7pm
Where: St Joseph’s church, Basin Reserve

In the name of ‘National Security’, and in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup, the government is pushing through a Bill to enhance the powers of the SIS. And John Key says, “We do not need to know what’s happening.”

In rushing through this Bill, the government is specifically ignoring the advice of the Privacy Commissioner. She stated that review of the security laws should take up to three years. However, Key isn’t prepared to wait that long and is using the Rugby World Cup and ‘National Security’ as a pre-text to strengthen the powers of the SIS.
The purpose of the SIS is to gather ‘intelligence’ on anything that threatens the ‘national security’ and to assess the risk posed. This means spying on anyone they consider a potential danger – from individuals (both NZ citizens and visitors, e.g Ahmed Zaoui, Keith Locke), to groups of people (HART, Greenpeace). There is very little parliamentary oversight of the SIS, and there is no complaints process for the public. The director of the SIS is directly responsible to the Prime Minister.

This Bill needs to be stopped. It is yet another example of the type of legislation that the NZ Law Commissioner warned us against in 1991 (ten years before 9/11) when he said that, “The danger is that States will over-react… [I]t is possible to imagine government officials doing more to destroy democracy in the name of counter-terrorism than is presently likely to be achieved by terrorists themselves.” [NZLC R22 Wellington 1991]. Let’s not allow the SIS bill to be added to the already long list of repressive laws such as the Terrorism Suppression Act (2002), Government Communications Security Bureau Act (2003) and the Search and Surveillance Bill.