On National On Labour On Human Rights In (A) Crisis


So let me get this straight. The National Party is objecting to the Government’s recent Public Health Response bill … because of its deeply held stances around the protection of human rights, opposition to warrantless searches, and scrupulously consistent abject horror at the concept of abrogation (or expedition) of democracy.

I believe the canonical response goes: pull the other one, for it hath bells on.

This is the self-same National Party that semi-regularly treated ‘human rights’, and the Human Rights Commission as a dirty word during its time in Government – indeed, which has continued to oppose the Human Rights Commission’s stance on prisoners voting  from Opposition.

This is the self-same National Party that massively expanded Police and spy agencies’ powers to engage in warrantless search and surveillance of ordinary Kiwis … and, as it happens, sided against the Human Rights Commission AGAIN in the process.

This is the self-same National Party that imposed a SuperCity on Auckland against the will of its people (as in, quite literally erased eight democracies and then some at the stroke of a pen), suspended democracy for almost a decade at Environment Canterbury, and rushed HOW much legislation through under Urgency?

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National’s own track-record is abundantly clear. They didn’t care about human rights, or the views of the Human Rights Commission, or protecting you from warrantless search etc., or upholding your democratic-constitutional system …

… up until it became politically convenient to. In fact, they STILL don’t care about these things. They’re just far enough from power – and painfully aware that they’re going to be that way for some time yet – that they can semi-safely pretend to be up in arms about these concerns, secure in the knowledge that by the time they’re in a position to legislate in these areas again, all of this will be a distant memory.

The National Party was quite prepared to actively support the abrogation of human rights, sidelining of HRC, and the deliberate erosion of democratic systems here … in an ordinary, peace-time situation. In fact, in what was – by  their own accounting of things – some of the best and most prosperous conditions in recent memory.

Who knows WHAT they’d have felt entirely entitled to hack away at were they in the driving seat right now instead of Labour. Hell, they’d probably be flogging off the other half of half a dozen energy companies in order to try and fund a few billion worth of tax-cuts … and that’d be before they’d even realized there was a Covid-19 Crisis demanding their attention.

Now, I am not, strictly speaking, a huge fan of Labour ordinarily. And I do think that there is legitimate room for both criticism and conversation around this Bill. As well as, of course, congratulation in no small quantity for how they’ve handled this present Crisis all up.

But I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that the man who proudly boasts of being a “former Crown Prosecutor” who’s presently leading the Opposition … genuinely has an issue with warrentless searches by Police. It’d be interesting to know if this apparent deeply-seated principled belief meant that he’d ever turned down prosecuting a cannabis charge, for instance, because the warrantless search powers we’ve already got under various legislation (even prior to the legislation he voted for on this subject) were made use of to make the arrest.

I doubt it. I really do.

There’s a lot of misinformation flying around about the Public Health Response bill at the moment.

Surely, the most egregious of it is that National has a leg to stand on.

Not least because that would imply that it hath been surgically removed from Simon’s mouth.


  1. Yes so the question that needs to be answered is.. Will Bridges repeal the legislation should he get back in to government”?

  2. The old ‘It’s OK to be a complete law ignoring arsehole just as long as you are not the first complete law ignoring arsehole’ theory.

    A theory used only by mindless tribal drones for defending the undefendable.

      • Tribal drones are not exclusive to any one party Bert. All parties pour massive effort into growing as many as they can. Lab and Nats have the best drone creation machinery when it comes to share volume of mindless. But for extreme drones who take both mindless and senseless to a whole new level no one grows them like the Greens.

    • It pays to read to the end of an article before rushing to print “And I do think that there is legitimate room for both criticism and conversation around this Bill.”
      The article is not doing what you try to imply which leaves your motives as the thing best described as mindless.

  3. Yes, National often experience a sudden new (and always temporary) respect for human rights and the letter of the law when they are not in government.
    When they have no more need of it they go back to (to paraphrase Steven Joyce’s immortal line) “business as usual”.

  4. Bridges a Human Rights Champ? Doesn’t like warrantless searches? Abhorrence of a police state? Yeah, right.

    Mr Bridges has made only two noteworthy trips overseas during his tenure as Leader of the National Party. One was to meet with high ranking officials from the Law Enforcement branch of the CCP in China: Bridges Singing From Chinas Songbook

    Ostensibly, that trip was about furthering trade between the two countries. Howsoever, questions have been raised:
    During the trip, Bridges, National’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Gerry Brownlee and National MP Jian Yang met with one of the most powerful people in the Communist Party of China – Guo Shengkun.

    Guo is one of 25 people with a seat on the Central Politburo, which oversees the Party. He is also the Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission, which oversees all of China’s legal enforcement authorities, including the country’s police, intelligence agencies and courts.

    Interest.co.nz understands that in general diplomatic practice, Guo isn’t the person to meet foreign opposition delegations. Guo was formerly the Minister of Public Security.

    At the time, the Asia editor of the Financial Times, Jamil Anderlini, tweeted: “Why is the leader of New Zealand’s biggest opposition party meeting with the head of China’s secret police? And why is he in Beijing with a New Zealand member of parliament who spent 15 years working for Chinese military intelligence?” Nat MP Organised Bridges China Trip

    • Shit that stuff is real, but it WAS allowed to fly under the radar by N.Z. media to a certain extent.

      • Yep. But hey, David Clark went for a (gasp, shudder) bike ride!!! Shock, horreur, the world is ending. Demote, destroy.

        Selective, are they not, our so called “journos” out there.

  5. National set a regional dictatorship in response to the Canterbury EQs. They then started abusing their newfound powers by trampling all over peoples property rights by Red Zoning residential areas and forcing sales of commercial properties for their failed central city plan.
    The HRC voiced concerns numerous times, yet Key and his crooks completely ignored them, even threatened them at one point. Total joke if they are crying fowl of human rights issues now.

    • The creation of the red zone allowed many to move on with their life without the hassles of working with insurance companies.When you make a move like this some will always be disappointed but all the people I knew were happy .The pipes underground were all broken and there would have been years of work where people were not on sewage or water . Christchurch now has an abundance of new homes at good prices. While it was not perfect I would give National 7 out of 10 for the way they handled this disaster and when Kaikoura struck it was even smoother so lessons were learnt

  6. If Bridges is a hypocrit on the question of warantless searches , it means most of Parliament is hypocritical .
    In the Explanatory note at the beginning of the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act , the Attorney General simply says the new Act “does not limit or affect the application of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990” . Rubbish ! Of course it affects the NZBOR . He should resign
    The new Act provides for criminal penalties !
    What about the rights , spelt out in the NZ Bill Of Rights Act , to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly , Freedom of Association , Freedom of Movement , & protection from Unreasonable Search & Seizure ? Attorney General Parker had a duty under this Act to inform Parliament whenever it was about to pass a Bill which was inconsistent with the NZBOR .
    In 2010 , then AG Finlayson at least did so with the Bill which was about to remove voting rights from all prisoners . AG Parker simply went into denial . AG Finlayson at least made it a little easier for Arthur taylor to get the Courts to issue a Declaration of Inconsistency . btw , Labour took office before the Crowns Appeal against the High Court’s decision was heard , but they still instructed Crown Law to continue with the Appeal . Labour & NZ First have little more regard for human rights than National. Only the Greens and ACT seem consistent on human rights .
    I can feel another Declaration of Incocnsistency coming on…

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