The thing that always sickens me about expanding Police powers in this country is the disgusting manner in which the Police assure us that whatever grotesque over extension of power they are seeking, they will only ever use it against the worst examples they are holding up for justification.
We are told that you and I as citizens in this liberal progressive democracy must accept erosions of our civil liberties because they will never be used against ‘us’ and only ever used against ‘them’.
As someone who has protested against state mass surveillance and has had his civil rights breached by the NZ Police during the disastrously flawed Nicky Hager/Dirty Politics prosecution, I am deeply skeptical of hollow promises made by Police that they won’t ever abuse their enormous powers and it is the reason I demand that the moment this plague has passed us by, the Government end us being a Police State and return our civil liberties unharmed as soon as possible.
I was caustic in my criticism of National allowing the Police to move the evidential threshold of the proceeds of crime from beyond reasonable doubt to the balance of probabilities.
I argued that it inadvertently re-set the risk profile of the entire the drug economy.
The new evidential threshold meant you risked losing everything as a cannabis grower. Why risk losing everything you own for a 6 month grow when you could make just as much in a weekend cook of meth?
This was one of the main reasons we went through a cannabis shortage a couple of years ago as criminals changed their risk profile and flooded the market with home cooked meth.
Despite its counter-productive impact on the drug economy, this extraordinary power to seize all your assets on the mere suspicion of the proceeds of crime was sold to us as a necessary sledge hammer to break organised crime and any possible terrorists, but look at the way the NZ Police have attempted to use it in the Salter Cartage example.
By re-defining a work accident as a crime, the NZ Police have seized the entire company by claiming the business is the ‘proceeds’ of this work and safety ‘crime’.
The gasp inducing audacity of what the Police are trying to do here is extraordinary. They are using a proceeds of crimes power that was supposed to smash organised crime against a company who have had a health and safety accident!
That’s like using a taser against an infant for resisting arrest.
At a time when NZ business are already struggling from the pandemic, Stuart Nash needs to explain why such an egregious misuse of extraordinary powers is being allowed to progress.
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