New Zealand Politicians Who Supported Three Strikes Law Two Months Ago Now Worried It Violates Civil Rights

from the now-you-notice? dept

We were both amused and disturbed (though, more disturbed) when New Zealand politicians rushed through a “three strikes” law that they very clearly did not understand. The situation has become even more tragically comic, following the recent UN report that said such laws are a violation of civil rights. In response to that report, it appears that the same political party who was very much in favor of the three strikes law back in April is now arguing that it’s a problem and the law needs to be reformed:

In response to the report New Zealand?s Labour communications spokeswoman Clare Curran said it?s ?time for a complete review of our copyright laws.? She says that she agrees with La Rue?s conclusions that Internet disconnection violates international law.

Maybe she should have thought of that before her party voted the bill into law… Either way, we’re happy that the party has come around and hope that it will, in fact, live up to this statement and look to repeal such a draconian law that was clearly a product of US lobbyists, rather than what was in the best interest of New Zealand citizens and society.

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Comments on “New Zealand Politicians Who Supported Three Strikes Law Two Months Ago Now Worried It Violates Civil Rights”

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DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I can’t wait either.

Not only is it hilarious, but the louder and crazier they become, the better it is in the long run. You can only push so far. Eventually the weight becomes too great and the camel’s back breaks.

(I would have said pendulum swings back, but this craziness is a one way effect. Once they break the dam it is broken. It doesn’t swing back.)

Some world leaders this spring were probably surprised at the uprisings of their people. They probably saw this as a sudden occurrence. Like an earthquake, it was the result of a long buildup.

The inability of the copyright maximalists to make coherent arguments speaks volumes. (And is great laughingstock material.) Name calling. Strawmen. Change the subject. Introduce irrelevancies. Blame the tool not the perpetrator. Decide everyone else both taxpayers and commercial should police the world for them. Support for vagueness in law rather than clarity.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Not only is it hilarious, but the louder and crazier they become, the better it is in the long run. You can only push so far.”

I have been saying this for a while. I half hope that ACTA and PROTECT IP pass or get signed. Because it will lead to a backlash. RIAA and the MPAA remind me of lemmings, they are doing everything to push to the limit not realizing they are about to walk off a cliff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Justice Minister Simon Power today said he had not put in a great deal of thought about whether internet access was a human right, but added he was “very satisfied” with the legislation and had no intention to revisit it.

A great deal of thought?

“You mean the internet? Where I get my pornography? A human right! Porn? I don’t think so.”

FUDbuster (profile) says:

I saw this yesterday about one of my favorite NZ comedian-actors Rhys Darby. Apparently he agreed to be in an anti-piracy video. The press picked it up and said he was “the face of a new anti-piracy campaign.” Now Darby is distancing himself from the campaign and saying that he doesn’t agree with the new laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Maybe she should have thought of that before her party voted the bill into law… Either way, we’re happy that the party has come around and hope that it will, in fact, live up to this statement and look to repeal such a draconian law that was clearly a product of US lobbyists, rather than what was in the best interest of New Zealand citizens and society.”

This is all a bunch of political grandstanding. Politicians always need something to grandstand over. So first they grandstand over the need for a three strikes law. It passes. What could they possibly grandstand over now? The need to ‘fix’ the law.

The point is that once the law passes, it’s very very difficult to repeal or substantially modify. So they can try to satisfy the industry by passing the law. They pass it. The industry is (still not) happy (and they still want more laws passed). Now the politicians can try to look good to those who don’t like the law by pretending to worry about it and claiming that it needs to be fixed. Just more excuses to grandstand.

Anonymous Coward says:

So what’s Melissa Leemp’s stance on this now? She seamed very eager to support it just a few months ago. IS she finally admitting she voted and supported something she didn’t even understand?

Simon Chamberlain (profile) says:

Here's what Curran said at the time

Basically she said Labour supported the Bill only because they had negotiated some safeguards against the three strikes, which she criticised. She said that, if Labour hadn’t negotiated these safeguards, the Bill would have passed in worse form. So on the face of it, it seems consistent to now be criticising it. (Worth noting that, as AC suggested at 8:09am, there’s an election coming up).

To put this in context, Labour are in opposition and don’t have a lot of power in this instance. Unlike the USA, it is incredibly rare for politicians to vote against the party line – you won’t get a Bill passing with 30 Labour MPs in favour and 10 against.

The specific safeguard that she claims Labour negotiated is that the three strikes provision isn’t actually in force. It’s in the law, but a Government Minister would have to take a specific action in order to bring it into force. Parliament wouldn’t be able to stop this happening, but it would mean the individual Minister would have to face the adverse publicity of doing so.

The whole debate is interesting if you have time. Depressing to read Katrina Shanks’ comments where she calls herself computer-savvy but doesn’t have any idea about torrenting…

Rikuo says:

Re: Here's what Curran said at the time

That’s actually somewhat interesting to me, about the fact that the 3 strikes is in the law, but the Minister has to take a specific action (what action by the way?)
I’m just contrasting this with a newspaper article I read here in Ireland sometime over the past couple of weeks. Basically, sometime within the past two years, Ireland passed a law saying you couldn’t jail people because of fines (e.g., not paying the TV licence). However, I was startled when the article mentioned that people were still being jailed despite this new law, because it said something along the lines of the court computers haven’t been updated yet…

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: Rhetorical questions of the day

“Is there any politician that actually owns a business? “

Yes we have “part time” politicians in Utah that run businesses. Mostly they do just like the full time politicians… vote for what the lobbyists pay them for. Occasionally they will pass a law that carves out a nice little benefit for their particular area of business, and then when they get called out on it, they put on the kid with a hand in the cookie jar face.

Matt P (profile) says:

Clare has been wary of this law ever since it’s been introduced. Labour did vote for it — hell Labour introduced the bill a few years ago — and while plenty of us have given her flak for it, that’s the party line. Clare, individually, has been one of few MPs to even consider the idea that this is a stupid law (or that copyright itself needs reforming).

For more Parliament laughs, here’s a video of Minister Simon Power when MP Gareth Hughes questioned him on the law. See if you can count all the weasel statements:

Chargone (profile) says:

ahh, yes, the joys of NZ party politics. more diverse and in many ways less silly than US party politics seem to be… but you get fun situations like this where the individual votes differently from their opinion due to the party line.

the reason for this is basically that they only really get once chance to vote differently from the party.

if they got in on the list, one vote wrong and odds are pretty darn good they’ll just be shunted down and replaced with someone else (not sure if they can do this whenever or only at election time, but it’ll still happen)

if they got in as a representative for an electorate, then odds are high that they’ll either lose party support and not get to run in that electorate again, leave the party and become an independant (lucky if they get elected for even one more term) or leave the party and form their own new party (if they’ve been well entrenched in their electorate in their own right for years, odds are good they’ll get back in and take some of their buddies with them for a term or two, at least, this way.) this last is about the only way we actually get new parties that actually get elected to parliament rather than ignored, because the media frankly doesn’t Cover parties who don’t have members in parliament… and even then try to pretend we still have a two party system unless the smaller ones deliberately make a big noise about something that’s likely to be contraversial enough to raise a stink.

so, yeah, they have to pick their battles Reeeeeeally carefully when it comes to crossing the floor, or they simply do not get back in. stupid ‘strategic’ voting and sheep like behaviour means that a lack of party backing is death to one’s ability to get elected, and thus to make any sort of difference at all. (and switching to another established party is… basically unheard of. defecting when a new one is created, sure, but after the fact? no. the parties usually have a lot in common but the differences can be Major points of contention.)

… i still reckon my electorate should have elected the ‘Legalise Cannabis Party’ guy. *laughs* the party couldn’t have been worse than what we currently have (note: legalising Cannabis would still put it in one of the more restricted catagories, if i remember rightly. just could actually be perscribed as a medicine in certain contexts. makes it a lot easier to track, tax, and who knows what else.)… not that i really agree with the main platform of the party *shrugs* but he was the only candidate who gave straight answers to questions at ‘meet the candidates’ events, actually thought about his answers, had a sense of humour, (i found the best bit to be how he managed to somehow claim, mostly jokingly (technically what he said would be true, but everyone knew it was negligable, and he knew they knew), that legalising cannabis would lower energy demands in response to some question on that subject. the major party candidates danced around the question, one of them never did actually answer questions, prefering to continue the same prepaired speech every time she got speaking time)
anyway… basically, this electorate is a ‘labour stronghold’. it doesn’t matter how stupid the candidate, if they’re part of the labour party they’ll get elected as MP. doesn’t matter how much better any of the other candidates are. too many people buy into the ‘wasted vote’ myth and the ‘two ticks is good’ propaganda.

basically the ONLY wasted votes possible in this system is to vote ‘strategically’ for a party that doesn’t actually represent you properly, to vote for a party and then for the electoral candidate who belongs to that party when there is a better candidate available and the party has enough widespread support to have good odds of getting in anyway… or the utter IDIOCY that is the 5% threshold. (there are 120 seats. that makes each seat worth less than 1% of the vote. by what logic does requireing over Five percent, or an electorate MP, to get your party in make Any Sense? people keep sighting ‘undue influence’ by smaller parties… honestly i’d be more worried by how badly it distorts the results. not to mention people complain about the ‘tail wagging the dog’ already… all of which is due to the nonsense of party politics Anyway, given that our parliament is not Supposed to divide into a ‘government’ and ‘opposition’. the entire thing is supposed to be the government. *sigh* pet rant that i shall not repeat in it’s entirity again. just wish we could get a governer who actually did their job properly for a change.)

Simon Chamberlain (profile) says:

Here's what Curran said at the time

“What action?”

There’s basically three ways laws come into force:

1. The Act specifies “this Act comes into force on 1 April 2012” [all of these methods apply to sections of Acts as well, for example in the UK the Companies Act 2006 had sections coming into force in 2007, 2008, 2009]
2. The Government brings it into force by a Regulation. (Parliament doesn’t get to vote on this; it’s purely an Executive branch thing, although a Parliamentary Committee has oversight of regulations, and there’s a process that has to be followed to bring them in).
3. The Government brings it into force by an “Order in Council”. The Order is a very short document just saying that the Act is now in force. It’s signed off by the Governor-General as representative of the Queen (who’s still NZ’s head of state). It’s a formality that takes a few minutes, but the Minister has to actually go through with it, it doesn’t happen automatically. That’s the method that the disconnection rule will come into force in NZ.

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