This Saturday, 9 October a national day of action will take place against the Search and Surveillance Bill, which is due back before parliament by the end of the month. A number of speakers have lined up to speak against the bill including Keith Locke of the Green Party, Kay Brewerton from the Wellington People's Centre and Dr Sandra Grey, Secretary of the Tertiary Education Union. They will be speaking at the Wellington protest starting in Cuba Mall at 12:00 noon. The action is being organised by the Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill - long-time opponents of the proposed legislation, which would greatly expand state powers of search and surveillance.
'Since the Search and Surveillance Bill was first introduced in August 2009, the Justice and Electoral Select Committee has obfuscated the issues surrounding the bill and acted to prevent public input and debate on it', said campaign member Timothy Evetts.
'When the bill was first introduced, it was claimed that it did not grant new powers at all and that fears surrounding new powers were unfounded. But when the interim report came out of the select committee in August 2010, it admitted to a huge range of new and expanded powers. That was only the beginning of the government's obfuscation and obstruction with this bill.' Mr Evetts continued.
In May 2010, the select committee published a press release stating their intention to restrict submissions on their pending interim report to only those people who had given submissions on the original draft of the bill. After significant pressure from campaign members, submissions were opened up to the general public - resulting in 380 new submissions.
Finally, after submissions closed in September the committee quietly notified a handful of submitters that they would be allowed to make oral submissions before the committee. After enquires by campaign members it was found that the committee did not intend to allow anyone else to be heard except those that they had hand-picked. 'It seems clear that the committee has a blatant disregard for public input in the legislative process.' Mr Evetts said.
'Despite widespread opposition to the bill, the committee has persisted in obscuring the facts, obstructing input and ignoring the legitimate concerns of the public. The only course of action left to us to oppose this draconian legislation is action on the streets, which is why we have organised the day of action for this Saturday. We will be making our voices heard loud and clear - that the people of New Zealand do not want this law passed.' Mr Evetts concluded.
In Wellington, the protest march will be starting at the bucket fountain in Cuba Mall at 12:00 noon on Saturday. The campaign is urging all concerned people to come along and join in the action.