Friday, November 28, 2014

Hearing the submissions

I've been watching the webstream of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee's hearings on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. Its been interesting viewing. So far, I haven't seen a single submitter who has approved of the process or the urgency, and there hasn't been anyone who has approved of the bill as a whole or even overall. There's been a lot of criticism of the extended sunset clause, the lack of natural justice in the passports regime, the duration of "urgent" warrantless search powers (and even the need for them at all) and the need for visual surveillance.

(Whoops, we've just had a positive submitter. They're a racist who believes that all religious speeches which aren't from a set text should be made in English or Maori "so we know what you're talking about". Which tells you everything you need to know about the demographic who approves of these measures)

There have been lots of positive comments from the committee suggesting they are open to improving the bill, but the National members will be under marching orders from Kitteridge, Key and Finlayson. Still, if they want bi- or tri-partisan approval, they're going to have to shift. The question is how much that approval matters to the spies.

Despite the very tight timeframe, there have apparently been over six hundred submissions - far more than most bills get, and the sort of number which should make politicians sit up and take notice. The committee will be sitting long into this evening to hear those who want to speak. Its great to see that despite the government's attempt to suppress it, people still believe in democracy in New Zealand and are willing to speak up for it. The question now is whether Kitteridge, Key and Finlayson will listen.