Freedom and other constitutional matters | The Jackal

29 Apr 2013

Freedom and other constitutional matters

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Would GCSB even have uncovered its unlawful behaviour if the court had not found that they had broken the law by illegally spying on Kim Dotcom? Similarly, it took 29 deaths before we had an inquiry into the regulation of mining in New Zealand. It took a wrongful disclosure of the private information of thousands of people by the EQC to raise questions about the fairness of its methodology concerning claims payments.

Any quality audit, finding errors of this kind, would conjecture that they are just the tip of the iceberg and as the government is 40 per cent of the economy, that should worry the rest of us who pay for that government. What other breaches are occurring that we never hear about?

It was only through a judge insisting that the rule of law be applied to the GCSB that the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was unearthed. Without the court requiring disclosure, we would be none the wiser. In turn we wouldn't have learnt that there's another 88 cases of the GCSB illegally spying on other New Zealand citizens.

Clearly cases like the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom are just the tip of the iceberg, therefore considering New Zealand to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world is just silly. The corruption has simply been very well hidden, not only because of the inherent secretiveness of corruption itself, but also because of the systemic dysfunction within our political system to uncover it in the first place.

One thing that could go some way in rectifying that inherent corruption within governmental departments is a formal constitution and in my opinion, that constitution should be based on New Zealands only founding document the Treaty of Waitangi. It should also incorporate other relevant legislation that outlines the fundamental rights to which every person is inherently entitled.

Unfortunately not everybody shares my egalitarian views. On Q+A last weekend, Michelle Boag said that we didn't actually need a formal constitution because some of the Treaty is already incorporated into government legislation anyway. The former National Party president also said that there's freedom of the press and New Zealand is perceived as a corruption free nation.

This is rather oxymoronic being that the press is often impeded from publishing information that's of public interest. Take for instance the teapot tape saga whereby Bradley Ambrose was dragged through the courts in order to try and stop publication, and it's pretty clear there's no real freedom of the press in New Zealand.

Couple that fact with multiple cases of government departments acting outside their mandates to encroach upon if not entirely ignore people's rights, and the claim that our country isn't corrupt along with Boag's argument against a formal constitution effectively evaporates into nothing.

Of course there's other opposition to the constitutional review... Here's what the racists over at the Centre for Political Research have to say:

The government's constitutional review is a major threat to New Zealand's democracy. A biased constitutional advisory panel and a consultation process that locks out non-Maori threatens to permanently put power and privilege into the hands of the tribal elite.

Clearly any constitution isn't going to "give the tribal elite supreme power in New Zealand" so we can basically ignore these nutters! I mean that's about as stupid as saying the "Maori grievance industry has gone too far and is now damaging the fabric of our society." That idiot Muriel Newman certainly has a lot to answer for.

Anyway, let's hope such racist sentiments aren't taken seriously and a comprehensive review process will result in a robust constitution that benefits all New Zealanders, irrespective of religious or political beliefs, ethnicity or financial circumstances. Let's also hope that it will curb the government breaching our existing human rights, because something certainly needs to done about that pronto.