I have a real concern about the growing authoritarianism of this Government in regards to law and order. Now don’t get me wrong – I am hard line on catching and punishing criminals – I think parole and bail laws should be much tighter, and support trialling a “broken windows” approach such as Christchurch is doing. But taking away more and more rights in the name of “law and order” is something the Government (and not just the Government but they are the ones in Government) is doing.
Let us look at the recent issues:
- A Labour MP proposes taking away the right to silence.
- The Government is considering legislating to force telcos to intercept and store *all* text messages in case they need them at some stage for law enforcement purposes
- The PM is directly discussing operational issues with the Police Commissioner.
- No Right Turn covers the Government’s latest proposals to give Police the power to make people remove clothing or leave a public area, which he describes as allowing the Police to make the law up as they go.
- The PM is advocating to allow people to be re-tried for the same crime, after being found not guilty, if new evidence is manufactured discovered.
Now we do have a law and order problem in NZ. We have made it easier for repeat offenders to get bail. Parole has been a right not a privilege. Probation is almost a sick joke. Gangs run their operations out of prisons etc.
But rather than target the core problems of bail, parole, probation and Corrections, we are seeing moves towards what I call authoritarianism.
Yes we would have less crime if the Police can access every text message and e-mail any citizen has ever sent. Yes we would have more convictions if the Police can keep retrying you until they get a guilty verdict. Yes we would have less crime if the Police are given the authority to ban people from public places on whim. But you know, that isn’t the NZ I want to live in.