Magazine article New Zealand Management

Publisher's Letter: Rights We Take for Granted

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Publisher's Letter: Rights We Take for Granted

Article excerpt

Byline: Toni Myers, Publisher

If we don't stand up for our civil rights we will lose them.

They're one of those things that you take for granted when you have no need to invoke them. They're sometimes hard-won but easily lost when ordinary citizens get complacent or too trusting of the motives of those in positions of power.

The default position on those holding power should always be a cynical one. Even for those who enter the political fray with a strong desire to do a public service, power eventually corrupts. It's axiomatic.

Given Key's ongoing approval rating you'd have to conclude that a majority of the citizenry aren't perturbed by the GCSB legislation and the expanded powers it gives the state to access private citizens' communications. And maybe there isn't too much for the average citizen to feel sorry about under a relatively benign regime. But it doesn't take too much imagination to consider how we'd feel under more autocratic rule.

While Key's constituency might feel relaxed about a National Government having increased powers of surveillance over its citizens, how would they feel about a Labour/Greens socialist alliance having the same power to spy on them?

Not that different from the Muldoon era when he would take exception to particular journalists and ban them from press conferences.

It's ironic that the spectre of 'Big Brother' in George Orwell's 1984 should be invoked during a Tory government rule in both the UK (the media did the spying / hacking there) and a 'centre-right' government here in NZ. …

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