Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sedition: first reading

The Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill is scheduled for its first reading today right after Question Time. It will be interesting to hear the speeches on that, and see whether any party will vote against it.

Meanwhile, yesterday's Member's Day went slower than expected, but still saw the final demise of the New Zealand Day Bill, and of Tony Ryall's Local Electoral (Repeal of Race-Based Representation) Amendment Bill. So it seems there is still a blocking coalition for bad, racist legislation.

And for those who care, the unpleasant duty of appointing new members to the Abortion Supervisory Committee is third up, and is likely to be debated right before dinner. While the freaks will make a lot of noise, I expect the vote itself to be a formality (though again I think it will be interesting to see which way National goes).


Would it be in order if an MP were to propose amendments to this bill:

To repeal the law of blasphemous libel (s.123 of the Crimes Act)

To modify the "Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993" to either remove the section "3.3d: Promotes or encourages criminal acts or acts of terrorism" or to exclude purely textual content from the definition of "Publication". (or both)

Posted by Rich : 6/14/2007 04:06:00 PM

Sadly, no. Amendments must be relevant to the subject of the bill, which is to repeal the offence of sedition.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/14/2007 04:15:00 PM


I'm quite pleased that the Government can't introduce, and then amend after the second reading, completely unrelated legislation as a mechanism to avoid select committee and public scrutiny.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 6/14/2007 04:37:00 PM

Sadly in that I also want to see those two clauses repealed. But it will have to wait for another bill.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/14/2007 04:49:00 PM

The relevance would be that they both criminalise speech/publication.

The censorship laws cover exactly the same ground as the sedition laws, albeit through different mechanisms.

Posted by Rich : 6/14/2007 05:20:00 PM

Rich: Standing Orders require something a little narrower than that.

I'm listenign to the speeches now, and National is backing repeal (and much of Chris Finlayson's speech sounded very familiar). I wonder if anyone will speak against it?

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/14/2007 05:49:00 PM

Ron Mark, on behalf of NZ First: "We are suspicious of this bill. We are yet to be convinced there is a need". Apparently, he's afraid of seditious Muslims, so they'll only vote it to select committee.

Debate over until Tuesday.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/14/2007 06:00:00 PM

I find it interesting that a bill to abolish race based seats is classed as rascist. What could be less rascist than treating people the same regardless of race? Putting that aside I'm interested in how MPs voted on Ryall's bill.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/14/2007 06:26:00 PM

Firstly, I think it's for Maori to choose whether to end Maori seats at local or national level (either by referendum or by no longer signing up for the Maori roll **which is voluntary**).

So, women's suffrage is somehow less than legitimate because it was passed by an all-male Parliament, and done without a referendum? (Also worth noting the considerable irony that some of the most vocal opponents were... women.)

But, hey, if I/S wants to be a reactionary apologist for a relic of Victorian paternalism I look forward to his case for the repeal of votes for women and the reintroduction of the property qualification. Just don't call me a racist, white boys.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 6/15/2007 07:56:00 AM

Craig: Completely different argument - that was *denying* part of society the right to vote.

Maori seats maintain one vote/one value - they just allow those Maori that choose to vote together in electorate seats. I wouldn't have had a problem if women had wanted to vote separately in 1893.

[Ok, so the curent system gives Maori a slight advantage because of the Maori Party winning four of the seats and getting an overhang. Exactly the same would happen if we had a "South Island Party" who won several electorates but got no party votes.]

Posted by Rich : 6/15/2007 09:06:00 AM

Although in principle I agree with dropping the Maori seats, I have a little bit of concern in that it would in effect legislate out of parliament a specific political party. Democracy is about representation and participation, and while it might be in theory logical to end the Maori seats, in practice it raises little constitutional issues that are tricky, and that could leave a bad smell if not dealt with sensitively. It would be far less tricky if the seats were held by a party with broader representation ie Labour.


Posted by Anonymous : 6/15/2007 10:54:00 AM

I have yet to see someone putting forward a strong argument to show that removing race based seats is racist.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/16/2007 03:32:00 AM

oliver - I'll give it a go (solely as Devil's advocate).

It's racist because, if Maori-based seats were open to everyone, you wouldn't be removing them - the only reason you're removing them is because they benefit one race - you're acting to the detriment of that race and no other.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 6/16/2007 10:28:00 AM

I think the Maori seats are a fulfillment of the Treaty of Waitangi. Consequently, they are for Maori to choose to keep or reject.

For the majority population to unilaterally abolish the seats would be an abrogation of the Treaty. Advocating the breach of a binding agreement in this way (perhaps because one party were "mere savages") *is* a form of racism.

Plus, racism *is* a one way thing - it requires a relationship of power and privilege. People without this power cannot be racist.

Posted by Rich : 6/18/2007 03:49:00 PM

Rich, so a poor, homeless, illiterate white person who calls Condaleeza Rice a "N&G#ER" isn't a racist?

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 6/18/2007 04:21:00 PM

Not really. Because it isn't backed up by anything and she could probably have him thrown in Guantanamo Bay for ever.

A bunch of such people demonstrating against a less powerful figure might be.

See here

Posted by Rich : 6/18/2007 05:10:00 PM