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They work for us, not the other way around. - Tactical Ninja

Apr. 14th, 2011

09:03 am - They work for us, not the other way around.

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Three things happened yesterday, making it an interesting day. Most of the day was actually spent in a meeting, which was less interesting - but work is only a subset of life and these things happened mostly 'out there' in life.

The first was that I received a reply from my MP about my request for him to agitate in Parliament for the TPPA negotiations to be made public. It was pretty much a non-response, assuring me that once negotiations are complete, the draft agreement must be passed into legislation, which means the public will have a chance to 'have their say' as part of due process by making a submission. He has confidence that this process will allow the legislation to be informed by public opinion.

I have less faith in the process, partly because NZ governments have a reputation for passing legislation even in the face of overwhelming opposition in submissions (see the BZP Amendment Act). And now, I have even more reason to doubt the process. Yesterday, parliament crossed another line.


What does the internet have to do with the Christchurch earthquake?

Well might you ask. I don't know. What I do know is that yesterday, the government passed the second reading of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill under urgency. Today they plan to have the third reading, after which it'll become law. Just as a background, this Bill has been around for a while, and in its original form contained clauses that allowed presumtion of piracy (as opposed to, you know, the presumption of innocence that our Bill of Rights says we have) and the cutting off of people's internet based on that presumption of guilt. People, naturally, objected. The first Blackout was a protest against this, and the protest caused a redrafting of the Bill, which has languished in parliament since November.

Now, our parliament is acting under urgency, something to do with the state of emergency declared after the Christchurch earthquake. Normal folks would be going "OK so they can act under urgency to get laws in place to deal with Christchurch" but it seems the government is going "Hey look, we can act under urgency to do whatever the fuck we want, let's pass this piracy thing really fast so we don't have to consult or have a submissions process or anything!" And that's exactly what they've done. They have bypassed due process to pass an unpopular law under the cover of urgency created to deal with a national disaster.

This isn't the first time a government's done something like this. However, this government seems to be doing it more and more, and also more blatantly. To me, this is an indication that they are not interested in finding out what kiwis think before they act supposedly on our behalf. And that makes Peter Dunne's letter reassuring me that I'll get to have my say on the TPPA a bit of a joke. I actually have no idea if I'll get to have a say on that based in the way our government is currently behaving.

So, why would the government want to pass this legislation in a hurry now, without due process? Well, I've been harping about the TPPA a bit lately. Part of what's in the TPPA is about intellectual property. Essentially the US is insisting on "far-reaching intellectual property chapters that guarantee ever higher-stricter monopoly rights to its drug companies, entertainment industry and IT and technology sector." You don't have to be a mental giant to make the connection between the sudden urge to legislate against piracy without due process and the leverage the US is applying re: intellectual property in the TPPA.

So to me, it seems our government is doing this in preparation for acceptance of US conditions regarding intellectual property within the TPPA. And they are doing it without asking us what we think.

Yet, I'm supposed to believe my MP (who is part of the ruling party whether he goes under a different party title or not) when he says that I have nothing to worry about because everything's above board. Either he's naive as fuck or he thinks we are.

Question: does our government really think we are that thick that they can blatantly manoeuvre like this and we won't notice or realise what they are up to? What does that say about them? To me, it says they think our opinion doesn't count, and that they don't care about even paying lip service to consulting the people they supposedly represent before acting 'on our behalf'.

So no, I have no faith that our government will give due process to the TPPA and that scares the crap out of me. I want to get Peter Dunne and bang his head on a wall while yelling "WE ARE NOT THAT STUPID" at him. I know I can't do that but I would appreciate advice on what I, and others, can do.


One thing I am doing is attending Murray Horton's talk about the TPPA next Monday. It bothers me how little I know about this and it bothers me even more how much less other people know. And I want to find out. So, St John's Church main hall, cnr Willis and Dixon, 6pm Monday the 18th, that's where I'll be.

This means that I won't be at Nerdnite 5. Sorry Billy, I really wanted to be at your talk but I care a lot about this and I have to learn more about how to oppose it. And I have to encourage others to do the same.

The third thing is on a completely different topic that I've decided not to talk about now. Maybe in another post.

Comments:

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From:tieke
Date:April 13th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
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"This isn't the first time a government's done something like this. However, this government seems to be doing it more and more"

Not just seem to, they really are:
"In just over two years 17 bills have been passed without referral to a select committee, compared with 5 or fewer in the full 3 years of the three previous Parliaments"

This data was up to the end of 2010, and at least 10 of the bills went through before the earthquakes - so no excuse there.

From:
http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/04/use_of_urgency.html
And:
http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2011/04/12/urgency-some-real-information

And commenter 8 here lists the bills that bypassed select committee:
http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/chart-of-the-day-like-the-justice-league-only-way-way-geekier-edition/#comments


From what I can see, this is not news according to mainstream media.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 13th, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
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That is terrifying.

How do we get rid of these fuckers?
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From:eipi10
Date:April 13th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
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I understand that we have the option of voting for Phil Goff. Yay.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 13th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. What do you do when the opposition has all the charisma and impact of a wet fish and are likely to carry on a similar course anyway?
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From:tatjna
Date:April 13th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
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Done already.

However, I have never been a supporter of the National Party and haven't voted for Labour for over 10 years. It's not my vote that needs to change. I'm interested in influencing other people to:

a) vote at all
b) think critically about these issues and vote accordingly.

Edited at 2011-04-13 10:53 pm (UTC)
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From:richdrich
Date:April 13th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
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What, the mainstream media? Never buy a paper - that's a start.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 13th, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
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Yep, I made that start about 10 years ago.

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From:t_c_da
Date:April 13th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
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How do we get rid of these fuckers?

Making sure you (and everyone else you can think of) actually gets out and casts a vote for almost anyone but them at the next election, would be a good start...
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From:anna_en_route
Date:April 13th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
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Vote Green in large enough numbers that labour *have* to listen.
If the Greens cleared 15% then National would almost certainly not get in and Labour would be unable to get legislation through without them.

The Greens are the only party that even approach consistency (there's a lot that they say that I disagree with but they're better than all the other parties put together as well as being the most well-behaved party in parliament).
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From:tatjna
Date:April 13th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
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This has been my conclusion also, on all points. I don't agree with everything they do but I appreciate their process.

My concern is as to how to convince others outside of the sphere that already agrees with us that it isn't a wasted vote, and that 'not National' doesn't necessarily equal 'vote for Phil Goff'.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:April 13th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
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I wonder if students might be a pool of potential votes?

Considering Jonathan Young (who, god help me, is a distant relative of mine) is already an internet meme, it's just possible that the young people might be persuaded to vote this time, if only for the lolz.
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From:phaetonschariot
Date:April 14th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
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The Greens are the only political party I'm not completely disillusioned with. Dear god I hope there will be huge grassroots campaigning for them this election. The local twitter network is really active lately, particularly centered around Christchurch, which might help a little.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 14th, 2011 01:56 am (UTC)
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Yeah, my corner of the Twitterverse seems to favour the Greens as well.
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From:pythia
Date:April 14th, 2011 06:03 am (UTC)
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Yep, pretty much this.
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From:richdrich
Date:April 13th, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC)
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I'm of the view that the earthquake recovery law has very little to do with what's needed to sort out streets and sewers. It's more about establishing a precedent of rule by decree for use later. Having done this, a future government could easily introduce similar powers to deal with a banking crisis or a strike in essential services.

One power that the CERA law provides to government is the ability to keep going without parliament. Normally, if a government split with its coalition partners, it could hang on for a while, but wouldn't be able to pass laws and would run out of money after a year. Under CERA, it could simply suspend or dissolve parliament and govern by decree for the next three years.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:April 13th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
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The weird thing is the state of emergency was meant to end the day before on April 12th. http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/

So I'm unsure to what extent it's related to the earthquake (even though I tweeted about it last night)

Also, I'm getting on a plane today!
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From:tatjna
Date:April 13th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
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YOU ARE GETTING ON A PLANE TODAY!

*bouncebounce*

The idea of the Earthquake minister being able to do whatever he wants for the next five years scares the crap out of me.

plane!
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From:dreadbeard
Date:April 14th, 2011 07:35 am (UTC)
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All good. Fight the power, yo. :) And basically, giving up occasional fun stuff is what it takes to interact with the non fun stuff which is screwing up the world. We need more of this.

(And besides, depending when I am on, maybe you can even do both...)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 14th, 2011 07:48 am (UTC)
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This is what I'm hoping. ;-)
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