Transcript: Seeby Woodhouse – Stop the GCSB Bill Meeting – 19/08/2013

Founder of Orcon ISP and 2004 NZ Young Entrepreneur of the Year Seeby Woodhouse addresses audience at Stop the GCSB Bill Meeting, Auckland Town Hall, Monday 19th August 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, do you know what the most successful television commercial of all time (interjection), ah no.  I’ll paint a picture. 

This commercial was so powerful that it was only ever shown on television just this one time, in the United States Super Bowl.  A single time, and yet decades later people remember it. 

The reason it was so powerful, is its imagery contained imagery going back to the times of narcissism and oppression – and the advertisement was ‘1984’ by Apple and it showed scenes of an oppressive society and a athlete throwing a hammer through the screen at Big Brother.  At the end of their commercial it says “On January 24 Apple will release the Macintosh and you’ll see why 1984 won’t become George Orwell’s 1984: Think different.” 

Now Steve Jobs and Steven Wozniak had a dream that computers were going to free us, y/know oppression, they were going to free us to, the common man.  Instead of computers been hard to use, instead of not having a graphical user interface, they were going to enable it for anyone – journalists to write stories, produce documents, and a whole range of things, and they had, and that dream has come true. 

So if you haven’t read ‘1984’ you should – I think the people in the National Party have read George Orwell’s ‘1984’ of a dystopian, dysfunctional society overseeing it’s citizen’s but I think that they mistook it for a guidebook to be honest [audience laughs].

So we’re lucky that in 1984 George Orwell’s vision, so prescient didn’t come to pass and that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s vision did come to pass and that computers have freed us and have done so many things for us – but things are changing – and for the worse and what we must hope is that 2014 doesn’t come 1984 just 30 years too late. 

So what were we doing in 1984?  We were electing David Lange as our Prime Minister at the very same time [audience claps] and we were protesting against nuclear weapons in this country; and when I started researching the firsts that New Zealand has done I choked up, and I choke up now, because we are a country of innovators – we were first to ban nuclear weapons, we were first to give women the vote [audience claps].

We lead the world and there’s actually a biological and scientific reason why. 

You see there’s a biological phenomenon called – forgot the name, it’s embarrassing – ‘punctuated equilibrium’ – thank you brain – and ‘punctuated equilibrium’ basically says that, the, on the edge of a species the citizens are most likely to evolve faster .  So for example if you have a colony of penguins, then the penguins on the outside are the most likely to explore, most likely to try something different, most likely to do something different from the rest of the colony.  And so New Zealand is on the edge of the world, we’re further away from anyone else and that’s why we are leaders.

That is why Sir Edmund Hilary wanted to climb Mt Everest, that’s why when WW1 started we put up our hand and said “yes, we will go first”, we were first and only country in the Commonwealth, we were the first to provide universal healthcare, the first to provide state housing, the list goes on and on and on, I found pages and pages of things New Zealand has done first in, and it is important we don’t forget how we have fought to be an innovator.

It’s so easy in New Zealand to get caught up and think that we’re a silly little country in the middle of nowhere. But I travel a lot and I can tell you that New Zealand has a place in the world as the first – New Zealand has an important role to play. 

Do you know something else we are first in? 

At the moment we are number one for freedom in the world, number one [audience claps]. 

We will lose that tomorrow, we will lose that, guarantee you, because, and the thing that is terrifying, if you can think that New Zealand is the freest country in the world what is it like for the other 200 plus countries?

You know the freest country in the world is going to bring in this, this legislation which is going to spy on the population, what of the other 200 countries?

Well only 40% of the world’s countries even have the ability to vote or any kind of democracy – 60% of the countries don’t have that option at all. 

So New Zealand, we must lead the world into light, we must show the way. 

In 1984 we did that and we must do it again – it’s so important.

An error only becomes a mistake if you fail to correct it – and if John Key or any of these politicians fail to correct their error tomorrow then we must do it for them in 2014.

We must [audience claps] and we will, we absolutely will.  

The New Zealand taxpayer, you the New Zealand taxpayer has spent $1.5 billion dollars to roll out the Government’s ultra-fast broadband network – what’s going to happen is your internet connections are going to turn to the same as Kim Dot Com’s connection, they’re going to slow down so you can’t play games because all of your information is been spied up – not joking.

As soon as the Telecommunications Intercepts Bill comes into law after the GCSB, I may not be allowed to talk to you; as the owner of a telecommunications company I will be gagged.  Under the Telecommunications Intercepts Bill men in black will come and install black boxes in my service provider, they will be able to tell me how my network is run.

 The internet was born on the basis of a free and open network – no one owns it – but this is changing.  The US and New Zealand Governments are trying to take over ownership and put the ownership of the internet in government control. 

But the great thing about the internet is the protocols allow you to route around failure – the internet was designed to survive a nuclear attack.

And Ernest Rutherford, another Kiwi, another first, he discovered the basis of the Atom – we are leaders – we must, we must prevent this, and if we can’t, then we must vote for people who will.

Thank you.

Download pdf transcript : GCSB 2013 08 19 Auckland Town Hall – Seeby Woodhouse

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