Asset confiscation; suspension of your right to silence; expanded search and surveillance powers for an extraordinary range of government departments – I tell you what: I’m with Danyl here asking why is it that Minister for Police Judith Collins is so damn popular? And the country’s media so fawning?
Beats the hell out of me.
People say things like, “Oh, if you do nothing wrong then you’ve got nothing to fear from expanded police powers.” What fatuous nonsense. That’s like saying if you’ve got nothing to hide then there’s no need to hang curtains on your front window.
Expanding the scope of “what-you-can-do-wrong” is just one way the state can make you feel its hot breath down your collar. What they’re doing here is enlarging the scope of what they can do to you even if you’ve done nothing wrong at all. Even if there’s no real proof of wrong-doing. Even if there’s no chance of any conviction, or of any finding of guilt—the government and its agencies will soon be able to do a complete end run around the protection of the court system to search you, to surveil you, and to confiscate what you’ve got, merely on their say-so that you’re someone who’s not to be trusted.
As an opponent of enlarged state power myself, I’d like to think that all of us in that team would be thought of that way. Which is just one very personal reason I’m outraged at the overturning of yet more fundamental legal rights going back centuries that this government is wasting no time overturning. Presumption of innocence? A criminal standard of proof? Just cause? Due process?
It’s almost like the Nats don’t even know or care, they exist . . .
“The retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to establish that a crime has been committed.” That’s a basic principle of Objective Law. What it’s being changed to by the Key Government is, to paraphase:
“The government’s retaliatory use of force will be unleashed to search for evidence that a crime has been committed, to deny your right to remain silent about any alleged crime in which you’re thought to have been involved, and to seize whatever assets the government deems to be forfeit from whomever they deem to be a suspect – under rules they’ll make up as they go along.”
Doesn’t sound like me to be praiseworthy. Sounds to me more like something to fear.
Judith has already earned herself the moniker “Crusher,” despite not having crushed one car, and not looking likely to in the near future. But she has already begun crushing some of your most basic protections against your being abused by the state and its multitude of agencies, quangoes and departments.
If you’re one of those who’s been thinking that HeadMistress Collins is doing good work here in making it “easier” to get to criminals, I would urge you to reconsider. What she’s doing is making it easier to “get” the innocent, whether or not they’ve even displayed any criminality.
And if you can’t prove that someone is guilty in a properly established court of law, what gives you the moral authority to treat them as if you have? Answers on a postcard, please.
UPDATE 1: No Right Turn spotted this chilling exchange on Sunday’s Q&A TV programme, on which HeadMistress Collins appeared:
"Paul Holmes pressed her on civil liberties, pointing out that the asset forfeiture regime was the end of "innocent until proven guilty". The Minister's response?
It's fantastic isn't it?
Yes, Really. We have a fascist as a police Minister.
It gets worse. What stops the police from abusing the vast new powers National (and, to be fair, Labour - because this bill and the Search and Surveillance Bill are both Goff's babies) has introduced? Apparently, the police are supposed to be concerned for their reputation, and afraid that they would "lose all credibility" if they victimised innocent people. Yeah, and I have a brewery in Mangitinoka to sell you. But Collins thinks we have other safeguards as well … Lets look at those one by one, shall we?
Read on to watch NRT demolish them one by one.
UPDATE 3: And there’s this postcard from Scoop: Fascist Police States: Libz Habeas Collins' Corpus On A Spike