Monday, December 15, 2008

Key on police spying

On Sunday, Police Minister Hudith Collins reacted to the news that the police were spying on political activists in a typically thoughtless manner. According to her, we should "find it reassuring" that the police are going after protestors. John Key, at least gets it - and the radio this morning he made his discomfort clear:

"I think the main point here is we would need to be satisfied as any New Zealander would that those being investigated were worthy of investigation, in other words, they present a real or credible risk to the safety and security of communities, not just a group the police target because they feel like it," he said on TVNZ's Breakfast programme.

He said he would be concerned if frivolous investigations led to [a] public loss of confidence in the police's judgment.

"I wouldn't like an individual group like Greenpeace to be targeted," he said on NewstalkZB.

The question is whether anything will come of this, or whether it is just more lies, the centrist mask for a nasty brand of petty authoritarianism.

There is no question that this is a terrible waste of police resources. According to the Sunday Star-Times, the Special Intelligence Group has close to thirty officers around the country spying on protest groups and exploring their personal relationships. That's thirty officers who aren't doing real police work, thirty officers who aren't chasing burglars, car-thieves, P-dealers or rapists, thirty officers who could be doing much better things. And they should be. If this shows anything, it shows that we have no real terrorists in NZ - otherwise the police wouldn't have to create any. And given that, the SIG should be disbanded, and its staff reallocated to doing real work, rather than wasting their time and undermining our democracy.