Libertarianz off the planet | The Jackal

18 Feb 2013

Libertarianz off the planet

Today, the Libertarianz reported:

Libertarianz Party leader Richard McGrath today urged anyone who objects to the coercive nature of the five-yearly census to destroy their papers.

“Members of my party up and down New Zealand will be burning, shredding, defacing or ignoring the documents sent out by Statistics NZ, as would be their undisputed right in a free country.”

That Richard McGrath eh! Not only is the Libertarianz leader totally overreacting, he's clearly not even aware that it's a lawful requirement to fill in the census using the correct information.

In my opinion, encouraging people to break the law isn't a good look, especially from a so-called political party.

“If the Bill of Rights Act 1990 had any teeth, it would protect those who don’t wish to complete their census forms from police harrassment and prosecution. Article 14 of the act states: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.’ This includes the right to remain silent and to refrain from writing.”

McGrath is obviously off the planet... Nowhere does the Bill of Rights Act 1990 (PDF) state anything about the right to remain silent concerning a lawful requirement to give information.

The right to remain silent is usually only used by people who might incriminate themselves, which makes me wonder if McGrath has something to hide?

Besides, unless somebody is clearly breaking the law, the Census information can only be used for statistical purposes and must be reported in a way that cannot identify people.

In fact the Statistics Act 1975 (PDF) strictly prohibits the use of the information for anything but statistical purposes and employees collecting or collating the information must make a statutory declaration of secrecy first.

“A lot of New Zealanders are concerned about where the information in these forms will end up, and whether it is necessary to collect the information in the first place.”

The information is basically used to see how well New Zealand is doing. It shows things like home ownership levels and income rates for the entire country, and indicates whether things are progressing or not.

“And many are worried that the government is paying lip service to its role as the defender of basic individual rights such as free speech and expression. This will be a test as to whether the Bill of Rights offers real protection or is a sham.”

I'm not sure where the census tries to stop people from expressing themselves, but I really do hope the ever-deluded Richard McGrath would stop expressing himself.

The paranoid fool is strangely under the impression that the simple information requested will somehow be used against him, but can't seem to point out exactly how?

No wonder the Libertarianz fail to register on any polling.