Friday, February 04, 2005

The Police haven't learned

According to Three News tonight, Tame Iti has in fact been charged with desecrating the New Zealand flag.

Given what happened last time the Police laid such charges, I'd have expected them to be a lot more cautious about laying such charges. While the High Court didn't overturn the law (courts in New Zealand can't), it did "read it down" so as to be compatible with the affirmation of freedom of expression in the Bill of Rights Act; now instead of simply destroying the flag in public, it must be done with the intention to "vilify" it. Exactly what that means is as-yet undefined, but I suspect that if burning the flag is protected, then shooting one full of holes almost certainly is.

But while the police are almost certainly wasting public money bringing this charge, they are doing us one favour: reminding us that this outdated law still exists, and that our supposedly liberal Labour government has done nothing to change it. Like the law against sedition, the law against burning the flag is outdated, a throwback to eighteenth-century concepts of lese majeste. And as I've argued previously, such laws grossly violate the freedom of expression and have no place in a modern, liberal democracy like New Zealand.

"Nation-building" is a significant pillar of the current government - recognising (and thereby helping to define) who we are as modern kiwis. Recognising our longstanding commitment to freedom should be a part of this. Laws banning flag-burning, sedition, and blasphemous libel aren't really who we are as a nation. The government should acknowledge this, and repeal them.


I reckon Tame got off his charges cos he is a sovereign of New Zealand and doesnt live by the freaken governments freaken rules codes and regulations. anyone can get off any charge as long as he/she is a sovereign and lives under their real name and not their legal name.have a look under global sovereignty it applies to every single person that has a birth certificate.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/07/2007 11:29:00 AM