GUEST BLOG: Daniel Steedman – speech to Mt Albert Grammar on GCSB



I’d like to start my speech by addressing a major issue to the lives of many young people. As you know I am doing my best to represent the youth of New Zealand and in my role I simply cannot watch this continue any longer. What I am talking about it is the appalling and invasive GCSB spying act. GCSB stands for Government communications security bureau. This act allows the previously ‘unlawful’ spying on any civilian, Lawful. That means any data about you the government can access without any sort of warrant. With my generation being the first fully integrated ‘Internet generation’ this is a major and unacceptable law that must be reformed immediately. My generation live online and that’s the thing the government does not understand. It’s like if John Key was sitting in your backyard with binoculars watching you eating dinner. That would be considered invasion of privacy and invasion of property. But that my friends is exactly what the government is doing to you, me, and every citizen in this country.

As I previously stated I am from the internet generation and things have changed considerably when compared to all of the other MPs in this building. I have never used the home phone, I haven’t got a slightest clue what a ‘fax machine’ is and I certainly dont find information from books. Times have changed and now with more people sharing their lives on the internet this is the worst time for us to be spied on.

Our Prime minister denies many claims against this bill putting the blame on ‘misinformation’ and further goes on to compare this legislation to a glorified ‘norton antivirus that will not spy on New Zealanders. Well if this is a glorified norton antivirus where’s the uninstall button? Now let me ask you this Mr Key, you’re blaming us for misinformation when the bill states as clear as day, “would extend the powers of the GCSB to enable it to collect information from all New Zealanders for the use of other government departments”. Now that is ‘misinformation’ Mr Key sprouting from your baseless and untruthful testimonial designed to trick unaware citizens to support your agenda.

Another ‘Great’ aspect of the GCSB legislation is the fact of the 5 eyes intelligence alliance. New Zealand is a part of this also including America, Canada, Great Britain and Australia. Basically this means that , if approved by the prime minister any of these countries can access your information at any given time. Now how do you feel about that. Knowing that not only can the GCSB take and use your information in New Zealand, but also share that information more easily with other countries! So this act is basically the facebook of spying agencies.

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The counter argument to this bill is “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you shouldn’t have to worry”. As simple as this statement is there is a problem, in many cases the GCSB is spying on you allready. For example even if you have done nothing illegal but are a major opposition leader or human rights activist the GCSB could be targeting you!
And another thing, why do the authorities need this new power of mass surveillance. John Key says it’s for threats on New Zealand, but what threats? I had no idea New Zealand was under terrorist threats! In July 2011 John Key had had
1. a meeting with the US president about spying intelligence
2. John Key appointed Ian Fletcher as the head of the GCSB essentially reinventing the GCSB and 3. Eric Holda US justice minister meet with the New Zealand intelligence spokesperson along with Canada, Great Britain and Australia about Cyber crimes, Intelligence and extradition.
All these things have 1 component in common, America. This is not what New Zealand wants this is America pulling John Key’s strings. America was after Kim DotCom for his file sharing website Megaupload and so he moved to New Zealand. Under the American Justice minister the New Zealand police conducted an illegal raid on Dotcom’s mansion. Then John Key had a meeting with Obama, called Ian fletcher to appoint him the head of the GCSB and subsequently created the GCSB bill as we know it.

In conclusion this bill should be abolished as it takes away a very important right and we as human being should be entitled to, Privacy. It is also a show of how much the national government is willing to suck up to America and disregard what the people want. I ask you now, are you prepared to be responsible for the impacts of this bill. Maybe the short term impacts are not as important as i make them seem, but the long term impacts could be disastrous. If the government gets away with this law, whos says they won’t implement more & more draconian laws to suppress us and limit our rights. I for one say no and i hope after this speech you can stand up and say no with me.

Daniel Steedman is a student at Mt Albert Grammar. This was his speech to his English class.


  1. Nice one Daniel. Quite right.

    Have you read George Orwell’s “1984”? He warned of exactly this very thing.

    Spying on citizens (even collecting “metadata” for possible future use, whether or not a person actually reviews the data) is feature of dictatorships. Not democracy.

    One point in your speech though which I do think is important; “America” is a continent (well, two actually). Not a country. You are referring to the USA. To allow the USA to appropriate the name of the continent in which their country is placed is to allow them the arrogance of assuming that USA is more important than all the other countries in the continents of North and South / Central America. It is to verbally displace many other countries, cultures and citizens. Don’t give the USA the pleasure please.

  2. Laying it on the line quite simply. While some conservatives may throw up their hands in horror at a speaker addressing a college audience venturing into political comment, there are times when things have to be said and the younger generation being made aware that not all adults are fascist sycophants

    There are some principles that youth should have available to them and a bit of truth about US dogma and the corrupt leadership in many countries caving into the outrageous demands of a power elite should never be a secret.

    If a fight for the future of our youth is not led by outspoken truths then what is going on.

    The youth of today face a very damaged world with climate change and shrinking prospects. They have a right to know about the mechanics of rule by a few over the many for the profit of those few.

    The many need to speak out and demolish the lies from the few.

    John Key is complicit

  3. Maybe Daniel would like to travel to America first before he comments. Hes coming across as the usual last year high school/First year Uni student who has been taught by his favorite socialist teacher.

    Hell Im certainly not going to defend the polices of the Bush administration, but kiwis need to stop being so precious about the USA.

    Daniel, do you even own a passport?

    • Ignore this kind of comment Daniel.

      It’s pointless.

      Travel to the USA is not required to understand that our government collecting data from our communications is wrong.

      Why on earth would travel to the USA be needed to understand this simple concept? A clearer explanation of your point is warranted.

      • Lara:

        His post was more about the GSCB bill, Im guessing when he goes to UNI, he would be the first to spring up with some Anti USA comments, he will tell people, what life is really like there for the middle class. He will never travel there, he will go and meet real americans. But he form his opinion on the USA from what his professors (who have never travelled there) tells him.

  4. Nice article. Have a look at some Noam Chomsky, I like the collection of interviews “What we say goes”, a bit old now though. You tube has lots of interviews of him. My main criticism of this piece is that NZ does not live in a security vacuum, the state will always monitor political activists and other possible threats, the idea that people won’t do bad things because we are a small pacific island is wrong. My other contention is what we are seeing is a massive technological shift in infotech which has made it incredibly easy to record data, and no sensible government would leave that door open. The US government was heavily criticized when it was found that warnings of 911 had been ignored. People died. It will happen again. New Zealanders have also died as a result of terrorism. People I know died in the Bali bombings, I know they would rather be alive than have their emails screened. Just a point of view.

    • Oh dear… if the US is so anti-terrorism, why does Obama support the Syrian Al Qaeda groups and the Ukraine Ne o-nazi terrorists with guns, money, and logistical help?

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