Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Good riddance

One benefit of the pandemic: the 2021 APEC meeting will now be held online, rather than in New Zealand. As for why this is good news, the cost of hosting that summit would have been to turn New Zealand into a police state for the duration of the meeting. The APEC enabling act would have allowed the government to put the army on the streets as "police" with full arrest and search powers, let foreign security staff bring pistols and automatic weapons into New Zealand and use them, arbitrarily close buildings, roads and public places, require proof of identification ("papers, please") from anyone wanting to enter, jam WiFi and any other radio communications, and all with no right of challenge or appeal, and an explicit over-ride of the BORA. But now, none of that is necessary. The bill is still on the Order Paper waiting for its second reading, but hopefully now it can quietly be dumped.

As for the future, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if the price of hosting such meetings is this sort of erosion of human rights, that price is too high and we should not host them. Letting the PM hob-nob and big-note and get a silly shirt photo with foreign leaders is not worth sacrificing any of our human rights. If she wants to do that, she should do it in some foreign tyranny, not transform New Zealand into a tyranny to accommodate them.