I do not care that there is currently no legislation that could stop a second flag referendum, it’s an entirely moot and lazy point – up until last week there was no legislation for a fifth flag option either. It is disappointing the reporter who wrote this piece for Radio New Zealand Megan Whelan does not include that information. Fact is legislation can be modified on the fly and under urgency and constantly is, to pretend legislation is somehow static and unchanging is bad form and lends no integrity to the report.
The whole reasoning for informal votes is the hope that sheer volumes of numbers would be enough to put pressure on the government and wider community for support to stop what would by then clearly be a pointless second referendum. People still have power. Am sick of journalists and media organisations hiding their balls and telling us we don’t.
I for one will be making an informal vote first time around.
My submission supporting this petition:
The argument for the two-step referendum process was that voters needed to see which flag design the current flag would be up against before knowing if they would want to change to it or not. Except people already know whether or not they are going to vote to change the flag. Therefore two-step process is a waste time, money, debate and resources.
Then today parliament made even more of a farce of an already flawed process by effectively rejecting the final four designs when they voted to include Aaron Dustin’s Red Peak in the first of referendums. This action is akin to bringing back a wildcard in a badly run talent contest, except this one is a bizarre parliamentary version of New Zealand’s Flags’ Got Talent and it’s crap, and it’s costing taxpayers $26 million dollars.
The only honest course of action going forward is for the government to hold just one referendum which sees the current flag going head-to-head with the five alternatives.
One referendum, one vote, one flag, one time.
It looks like today’s questions were a coordinated effort by opposition parties to make the prime minister answer questions and not have him fob them off to someone else or deny he has any responsibility to answer it. I thought Duncan Garner was a political journalist once, so surely he would have known this? Or is this fobbing off questions a new thing, unique to Team Key?
When MPs ask Key if he “stands by all his statements” he has to answer questions that are put to him and not pass it on to one of his Ministers. If they simply asked him about a particular subject, he can blow it off and not answer it by saying he has no responsibility for that portfolio, thereby wasting a valuable question. The government does this so the prime minister is kept from having to answer tough questions and/or be associated with dodgy, useless, inept, corrupt, etc, government ministers and departments.
For example you could ask Key about the state of operations at a particular DHB, he could claim he has no ‘ministerial responsibility for that’ and pass the question to his Minister of Health to answer. Or he might have made the claim a health department is operating very well, but when it’s proven it isn’t, he can simply deny he has any knowledge or responsibility for it. Whereas asking him if he “stands by all this statements” (usually it is only in relation to a particular topic) but to make the point the opposition parties gave him no wiggle room today by asking if he stood by all his statements since becoming prime minister, means he has to answer, and truthfully, MPs including the PM can not to lie to or mislead parliament. It’s probably the worse thing a politician can do.
Passing off questions has been happening a lot with this government and it frustrates democracy. A country needs a strong opposition (regardless of your politics) to hold governments to account but if they are hindered in the very house where they are meant to get answers for the public, from the very ministers or a prime minister who serve us, then there’s not much an opposition can be, but inept – and that doesn’t do anyone any favours. I applaud what the parties did to day. More of the same please.
(Image source: distractify – Stuck Cats)
Kia ora, tena koutou katoa, and good evening.
Thanks to John Minto and those people who have organised this evening and for you to have come out tonight, and for the chance to speak to you about a very critical issue for our country.
The issue we face is not whether we have security agencies or not – New Zealanders are after all realists, they know we live in an imperfect, often evil world. We need to have security agencies such as the GCSB.
We need leadership on these issues of national security that we can trust – and to ensure we get that trust, we first need laws that we can trust [audience claps].
The real issues are how much new power are we giving the GCSB? Second how do we have an effective oversight of that agency, and third how do we avoid relying on one person, the Prime Minister, to safe guard our civil liberties? New Zealand First’s proposal on the Bill addresses all these questions.
When the legislation came up, we took the Prime Minister at his word, as did my colleagues behind me – he said he wanted broad Parliamentary support for this legislation, and we believed that broad Parliamentary support is critical for such legislation because the security and safety of our citizens should be every politicians number one concern [audience claps].
And we have all offered a constructive way forward, for a robust, workable oversight of this law and the GCSB – but sadly the Prime Minister has acted in bad faith. There was only the pretence of building a wider agreement, but the moment he got the one vote he needed, from you know who [audience laughs].
Well you weren’t trusting John Banks we’re you [audience laughs]?
Once he got the one vote, it was a done deal; any thought of seeking broader Parliamentary support vanished.
And the tragedy is that despite the fact that a lot of these people went through Auckland Law School, not one National MP has dissented from the current GCSB Bill [audience heckles].
Not one MP.
Now George Orwell had a phrase for that – “group think” [audience claps].
They’re telling the country if ‘you’re not with us, you’re against us’, ‘if you’ve got something to hide’ – [audience laughs].
That’s what they’re saying, the law’s justified. Doesn’t matter what you’re hiding, that it might be private, it’s still their concern. – now what an odious view the Government and its cling-on’s take of their fellow New Zealanders.
The proposed law will be clearly explained tonight and has been by those who understand better its gambit – but the real issues are these –
First, the GCSB was an international spy agency; it will now become also a domestic spy agency.
Second, the GCSB’s intelligence powers and functions were constrained; they will now be seriously widened.
Third this organisation could previously not legally spy on New Zealanders, New Zealand organisations, or New Zealand businesses – now it can.
Fourth, under existing law all manner of domestic information data is off limits for the GCSB – now it is not.
And fifth, today a warrants’ checking agency has to explain the particular, or general threat to national security posed by an individual – now if accessing metadata, no such explanation is required.
And six, no such explanation is required, if private communicating parties should have contemplated that their communication could be accessed by a third party.
This sounds complex but, in fact, it reads like an excuse for hacking, let alone troll security agencies.
What’s worryingly clear though ladies and gentlemen, is that Mr Key does not understand the law that he’s talking about [audience claps].
It was clear as daylight on that Campbell show, that he didn’t understand the law – and it will be clear to all those who have being on the committee looking at this matter that this man has no experience on this issue and is not concerned about its complexities and it’s dangers [audience claps].
He does not understand the law, and let me say this, if he did, and he believed what he was saying was true, why does he plan to make a Parliamentary statement in the Bill’s, in the Bill’s Third Reading, as guidance to the courts.
Here was I thinking our judges had New Zealand case law as a precedent, Commonwealth and other precedents to guide them – now they have John Key’s guidance by way of a speech [audience laughs].
This is thoroughly bad law. It’s an admission by the Prime Minister that his law is clear and present danger to the freedoms and values of the people of this country.
I want to close by saying; we will not support legislation that makes our Prime Minister all powerful [audience claps].
Even if you thought John Key was as trust worthy, benign, and as innocent as Mother Theresa [audience laughs].
You would be mad to put so much unbridled power into the hands of one person, who has such a flimsy understanding of hard fought civil liberties [audience claps].
Finally, finally – when Mr Key said he had no knowledge of Kim Dot Com, or the raid, he was not telling the truth [audience claps].
His constant denials are false, and his supporters need to know, that soon he will be found out, and when that day happens, they will bitterly regret their trust in him.
We ask the Prime Minister and his colleagues, even at this eleventh hour, to think again.
Download pdf transcript: GCSB 2013 08 19 Auckland Town Hall – Winston Peters