The surveillance bill must be stopped!
22 September 2011
Te Wharepora Hou is a wāhine Māori collective who are mainly Tāmaki Makaurau based. We also have strong participation from wāhine based elsewhere in Aotearoa and the world. We wish to ensure a stronger kaupapa Māori voice from a wāhine Māori perspective. Our concern is primarily with the wellbeing of whānau, hapū, iwi and all that pertains to Papatūānuku and the sustenance of our people.
We are outraged that the Government plans to urgently progress a bill next week to enable police use of video surveillance while investigating crimes. We consider both the approach by Government and the subject of the law change, to be direct assaults that will target Māori unfairly. We deem this move to be an attack on the fundamental freedoms and civil liberties of all New Zealanders.
We note with huge concern the lack of clear information and avenues available for the New Zealand public to engage in such an important issue. We also note the current distraction provided by the Ruby World Cup tournament happening around the country and pose that a more appropriate time-frame be given to such matters. We oppose retrospective and rushed law changes as they are a profound affront to parliamentary rule let alone the rule of law.
We totally reject the scaremongering notion that existing cases would be jeopardised if this bill does not proceed with haste. We demand that a full and transparent analysis of those current cases be presented to New Zealanders before a conclusion is made around the relevance of this bill and its urgency.
The proposed bill is also a short sighted move lacking sustainable vision and true leadership. It is a proposal that will go no distance towards the fundamental issues of real criminal activity. We instead propose that Government seek urgent measures to address the drivers of crime. More haste should be given to tackle our shameful child poverty rates and the unemployment of our nation’s young people.
We insist that police continue to be accountable to the law as it stands. We remind Government that common law itself has historically protected territorial privacy and reputation. We ask where is the security and protection against unreasonable intrusion into personal freedoms when such a fundamental change is to be made with undue haste?
Historically such arbitrary lawmaking has unfairly targeted Māori such as the Tohunga Suppression Act 1907 and the Suppression of Rebellion Act 1863. Typically it is marginalised, poor and disaffected groups who will display disdain towards the governance that is ruling their society. Māori as indigenous people are highly represented in these disaffected groups.
With the Urewera situation we have already seen how police surveillance has impeded both on a citizen’s right to their own property and also their reputation. We do not wish for further powers to be given to police so they can tarnish a group with a ‘terrorist’ stigma on every occasion of political dissent.
It is vital that this bill not be progressed any further until due consideration has been given.
We look forward to your early response.
Te Wharepora Hou
Dr Leonie Pihama
Spokesperson for Te Wharepora Hou