Wednesday, December 17, 2014

John Key wants arbitrary detention

That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from his comments today about the need to lower the threshold for detention:

Prime Minister John Key said the Sydney siege gunman highlighted the conundrum for authorities over protecting citizens against potential terrorism and over-stepping their powers.

He indicated the threshold for detaining people considered to be a security risk could be a credible area for review.


[T]he fact that someone was on a watch list did not mean they could be detained.

"I suspect they were on lists of people that could present a threat," Mr Key said. "But the threshold the authorities have to meet before they can detain someone is very high and for very good reason.

"That is the conundrum that the authorities face between over-using or over-exercising their power but on the other side is the declared desire the public will have to be protected."

Asked if the threshold for detention could be the subject of a comprehensive review beginning next year, he said: "That may be one credible area that they look at."

Currently the state can only detain you on conviction, while awaiting trial if there is good cause to suspect you will reoffend or fail to appear, if you are caught breaching the peace or committing a crime punishable by imprisonment, or if there is good cause to believe you have done the same (note that in law, an attempt or conspiracy is the same as commission of the offence, so they're covered for stuff planned but not actually done yet). That's the "threshold for detention": good cause. Lowering that by definition means arresting and detaining people where there is no good cause to believe they have committed (or are credibly planning) an offence. And that seems to be the very definition of the arbitrary detention prohibited by the Bill of Rights Act.

As for what this means: our spies are turning into a secret police, and our Prime Minister into a dictator. We need to de-elect both before it is too late.