Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I laughed about "Their Rights"

My husband and I are National Party voters. We also laugh at Americans and all of their "rights" they yell about.

Well, I've never been more disappointed in the National Party and more scared of loosing my basic rights as I have this year.

As someone who puts herself out there on the internet everyday, who shares with perfect strangers parts of my life you might be quite confused about my concern for privacy.

The difference being that I choose what I put online. I give it and hand it over freely. The GCSB bill will take away those rights that I have. It will take information from me, and store it, forever.

Previously the government have been able to do this with foreigners in New Zealand, but the bill is changing that to allow spying on NZ citizens.

You might think that the government will only be spying on supposed Kiwi terrorists, but this bill will give them access to all manner of information. Your cash jobs and phone calls with your business partner or customers, your emails admitting your hopes and dreams and schemes, a teenager telling their friends they are depressed, or what their parents have been doing in secret. Journalists talking to their anonymous sources and politicians planning a campaign. A Sister talking about "Love Bombs" might get some attention. And they can use this information at any point in the future.

You may have "nothing to hide", but I assure you, you probably do. You may not be planning to blow up the beehive, but your activist status' and your "free thinking" might just get you into trouble in the future.

Don't even get me started on the storing of said information. The government have proven time and time again that they really have no control over our information being leaked and hacked (ACC, EQC and government websites, just to name a few from the last few months).

I also find it rather amusing that the "tea cup tapes" were never released... "A private conversation" they said. "Illegal and unethical" they said. And I agreed. And I still agree. But it seems like those ethics don't apply to us any more.

I've been thinking about this for a long time, I've tried to start many conversations with my husband about this, and I'm only just speaking about it now. I feel our privacy is a basic right we have and a "right" is very hard to articulate, and politics even harder to speak about in an open forum. But can I request that you do? Open those lines of conversation so you can be heard. If you have concerns, speak them out. They don't have to make complete sense, you don't have to know all of the facts. 

But now's the time to be informed and to do something about it. Surely the government must listen. We voted them there in the first place. Otherwise they should remember how they betrayed its people.

If you're concerned about the GCSB bill, here's what you can do:

Join a Facebook group opposing the GCSB
Read about and sign the biggest national opinion poll by Campbell Live (it takes two seconds)
Attend a meeting in your area - a message said with numbers is a loud voice
Write a blog post
Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, call talkback. Explain how this will affect you!

And a message from a policitcal friend of mine (who I normally don't agree with at all (heh!))::
"The Government only has a 1 or so vote majority on the bill at the moment, if you wanted to write a letter to your local National MP, or to Peter Dunne, explaining why you are worried about it and why you'd like them to stop it, that might help as well.I know from working in parliament that MPs do actually start to get really worried when people take the time to write to them!"

Peter Dunnes Email: peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz (he does read them, I've already received a reply to mine)

Peter Dunnes Twitter: @PeterDunneMP
Peter Dunnes Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hon.peter.dunne

So in practice at speaking out, leave a comment and be heard! And let me know what other action you take!


  1. Thanks Sophie for speaking out in such a clear way. I love having an action point. I just sent an email to Peter Dunne. xxxx

  2. Might I also add, write to your own local mp as well as to Peter Dunne. If they think we don't care they will do nothing.


  3. Thanks sophie I plan on taking up your challenge and blogging polling ans emailing about this. It disturbs me they are not listening to the people who voted for them. Like me and you. We are not extremists or lefties yet they stop their ears and try to kid themselves they have a mandate. They don't.

  4. If I were a NZ citizen, I'd stand against the bill. As a foreigner, I simply watch it happen and wonder, is it even a place for me to speak out? I listen to the news on radio and from what I understand about the bill, feel threatened - not so much about myself but about where this country is going if this bill gets passed - but at the same time it looks like something "Kiwis need to figure out on their own".

    I've argued about it with my husband. The point of difference in our views is that, to me, concentration camps of World War II aren't just texts in books. My grandfather's entire family - well read, educated, outspoken, the sort of people that would've stood against what was happening - fled Europe in fear of being prisoned and killed, but because my grandfather got drafted into army first, he couldn't join them. By the time the war was over and he was released from army, alive, he couldn't join them in Australia any more because borders were closed, and they couldn't come and visit either because grandpa was now inside Soviet Union. From when he was 18 years old, he never saw any of them again. Ever.

    And when someone says to me, "Surely that sort of a thing wouldn't happen any more" I can see why they say that but... Are you really sure? Really?

    By letting the government collect information WITHOUT A COURT ORDER it's like opening up a gate for... Say, different sort of people get elected into government in years to come - and with enough money, anyone can get elected. By having all that information stored somewhere, it's like a godsend for someone who wants to have leverage against people who don't agree with them.

    Say, a person comes up to someone and says quietly, "Look, you can do what you want - but here's the thing: if you sign your name on this petition [insert/replace this with whatever political action here], I know people who can get your son imprisoned. Just saying."

    And it might be far fetched, but on the other hand, is it? It's gonna bring a whole load of scenarios up. People being able to go into other people's pasts for years. Bringing up embarrassing information about a decent man who is running for parliament, and therefore taking him out of the race. Pressuring people to do something by threatening to get their family members involved in x, y, z.

    All. Sorts. Of. Scenarios.

    If there are decent people I trust accessing this information, not a problem, but will there always be ONLY people like that? The answer is no, because people make mistakes everywhere.

    Geesh, every time I think about this thing I get so agitated.

    I know my grandparents were born into a time where they didn't think people would get loaded into railway trucks and get shipped off into concentration camps, and gassed - but it happened. Heck, there's an old gassing bunker within a walk from where my grandparents lived, and I used to climb around it when I was a child.

    And I'm not convinced that really awful things won't happen, and frankly, to me, this bill is like a step towards it. I'm effin scared of the potential it has.

    1. Wow, thanks for this perspective Maria. Sometimes outsiders can see things we can't. Sometimes even as a New Zealander I feel equally helpless against the tide.

  5. P.S. I've emailed Peter Dunne AND Winston Peters (who I hear was undecided); my own MP is the Labour Leader so I doubt he supports the Bill anyway. Should I still email him do you think? Maybe I will. And tell him to get the Labour party sorted out so we have a decent alternative to National come next election.

  6. A great post Sophie, thank you for sharing. Also, John Key treating New Zealanders, including his voters as stupid idiots really grinds me. Care more about snapper?!? Huh??!! And don't get me started on the 'tea cup tapes'?! Grrrrr!!!

  7. I'm appalled with the way they are conducting this :) Good on you xx Sharing on facebook :))

  8. Yay for your thoughts on this. It is terrible what could happen. We must march (although it appeared to do nothing) and write, what else is there? Love your blog, especially todays! Sho

  9. glad to hear of someone else getting up in arms about this all too. i thought it was just me. i've been going on about it on facey to zero comment which kinda subdued me. the bill aside, i feel John Key has really lost the plot, the arrogance and the ignorance, i've been quite staggered by that too.

    ps must google "snapper" to ensure I do definitely care more about the GCSB bill since I've no idea what snapper is!


Wowee! Thanks for leaving a comment :)

Pin It button on image hover