Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It begins

When Parliament passed the Harmful Digital Communications Act, people (including me) warned that it would be abused to stifle political speech. And it has, with NZ First MP Tracey Martin accusing a political blogger (who supported a rival NZ First MP) of violating the Act:

NZ First MP Tracey Martin has claimed Curwen Rolinson is in breach of the Harmful Digital Communications Act, passed in July. In a blog post, Rolinson, former leader of the NZ First youth wing, accused Martin of undermining party MP Andrew Williams.

Speaking at the University of Otago last week, Martin suggested that Rolinson was in breach of the law as a result of a blog post written on 6 July, four days after the Act was officially made into law.

“I’ve been working on the Harmful Digital Communications bill and what Curwen [Rolinson] did, what Whaleoil [blogger Cameron Slater] does, that’s harmful digital communications,” said Martin.

The "breach"? Rolinson accused Martin of spreading rumours about NZ First MP Andrew Williams, who was competing with her for the position of deputy leader. In other words, a typical internal party spat. If this is what Martin thinks the law covers, then we should all be very afraid.

[Hat-tip: Offsetting Behaviour]