The Erosion Of Our Civil Liberties – I Think We’ve All Had Enough


John Key with DPS-2THE CONTROVERSY about the latest GCSB legislation is a much healthier debate on the erosion of civil liberties than we’ve had for any of the previous legislation passed in the wake of the terror attacks on the US in 2001.

This year’s GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) Bill and TICS (Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security) Bill come after:

    Terrorism Suppression Act
    Government Communications Security Bureau Act  
    Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act
    Crimes Amendment Act
    Counter-Terrorism Bill
    Border Security Bill
    Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act
    Maritime Security Act 2004
    Identity (Citizenship and Travel Documents) Bill
    Aviation Security Amendment Bill
    Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill
    SIS Amendment Bill
    Search and Surveillance Bill.

Each of these bills extended the powers of government agencies to spy on New Zealanders. But John Key is not happy so we have the –

    GCSB and Related Legislation Amendment Bill
    Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Bill.

See more details of these laws below – it’s a rough summary rather than a definitive description of each piece of legislation but it underlines the importance to roll back the surveillance state.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: If you need to zoom in on these tables, click here to download the pdf.)



  1. This isn’t even all of it John, these are the most important, but others such as the youth offenders amendment bill. Which allows the collection and storage of biometric data from people under 25 without conviction!
    It’s quite shocking if you think about the fact that even the most oppressive regimes in history never had this level of surveillance available. The government tells us not to fear we need it to protect you, but how will we protect ourselves from them? Just as we are all just a couple of pay checks from destitution, we are now but a couple of governments from totalitarianism.

  2. Yes that’s a fair enough comment – there’s also the law demonising seaborn protest on the against big oil companies. If that had been in place in the 1980s most of the Peace Squadron protests would likely have been illegal.
    I’ve just summarised the ones relating to spying by police SIS and GCSB

  3. You are right John. So much is being spent in time, energy and money in defending the right to suppress citizens around the world.

    I’ve been giving a bit of thought to the GCSB bill and think there is another angle from to make a challenge. I haven’t actually seen any evidence that a cost/benefit analysis has been done on the GCSB Bill. Surely in this economic world we need to know how much it will cost the tax payers and also the financial benefit which will be gained by spying on our citizens. We seem to have all of the legal and emotional arguments, which are very good, but the accountants don’t seem to have been out yet. Could the money which will be spent on the actual collection of meta data, then the storage, monitoring, cost of privacy etc over a period of many years be justified? This will be a big, expensive project for which there is absolutely no justification surely. Perhaps the money would be better spent on improving health and safety so that we are not losing one worker each month in our forests? There are also many more justifiable and necessary calls on our scarce funds for health, education, job creation etc. Just a thought and maybe this can be used somewhere. – See more at:

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