It is astonishing to me that New Zealand’s parliament, by a vote of 107-10, today increased the powers of the SIS, or Security Intelligence Service. They used the World Rugby Cup as a catalyst for this. The powers include improved ability to deal with high-tech communications like computers and mobile phones. In short, they have existed in a world comfortable with the deplorable PATRIOT Act for so long that the idea of fuzzily defined surveillance is now given as a necessary evil.
I am reminded of Thomas Paine’s timeless observation. It goes something like this: if something wrong has been around and accepted long enough, it takes on the appearance of seeming right, and conjures violent defense on its behalf even if it was originally rooted in nothing noble, just, or wise.
This is the problem with any movement by government that puts security before freedom. And to use the ostensibly silly Rugby World Cup as a motive for increasing intelligence powers is patently and obviously dishonest.
Does New Zealand expect an invasion of security threats from the surge of tourism? Does it really think that anyone gives a shit about its unimportant place in the geopolitical scheme of things?
The beauty of New Zealand is that it is unimportant. Nobody wants to conquer, occupy, or destroy it. Nobody resents it because of its venal foreign policy, or its attempt to aggressively export its culture to foreign lands. That disgusting honor belongs to the United States.
So, what were 107 ministers thinking? Why is NZ media so passive in digging into the truth about this? And when will kiwis stop confusing modernization with conformism. Why are people sheep?
(I will admit that I am reacting to a shallow and uninformative NZ Herald article and don’t know the history or context of this surprising vote. I will absolutely return and update this post as I learn more.)