Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Muldoon test

I've been watching to the debate on the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill, hoping for a repeat performance from the Maori Party or a heavy criticism from the Greens. But the strongest criticism of the bill has in fact come from Rodney Hide, who asked the simple question: "What would Sir Robert Muldoon have done with this legislation?"

It's a terrifying thought. The bill would make designation the privilege of the Prime Minister, with no real right of review (and any attempt to do so crippled by the use of secret evidence). Designation effectively creates a strict liability offence, allowing participants or supporters of designated groups to be prosecuted and jailed for prolonged periods. And Muldoon would have used these powers to the hilt. And while his evil piggy countenance no longer darkens our government and Parliament, can we ever really be sure we won't be governed by someone as evil and vicious as him in the future?

This "Muldoon test" is something we should apply to every piece of legislation. And if we wouldn't trust Rob Muldoon with a law, we shouldn't trust anyone with it.

Meanwhile, NZ First's Ron Mark has gone beyond the usual trick of calling opponents of the bill "supporters of terrorism". Instead, he's called the Maori Party actual terrorists for supporting te tino rangitiratanga. What a vicious little thug. NZ First truly are Muldoon's heirs...