Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spy law set to pass despite final flurry of opposition - TVNZ

Published: 6:10AM Wednesday August 21, 2013 Source: ONE News

john key vs gcsb sign (Source: ONE News)

GCSB protest sign and Prime Minister John Key - Source: ONE News

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One of the most polarising pieces of legislation in recent history is expected to pass into law this afternoon.

The GCSB amendment Bill, which will allow Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) the power to provide support for the New Zealand Police, Defence Force and the Security Intelligence Service, will have its third and final reading this afternoon.

The Government's push to get the bill through Parliament has seen thousands turn out at protest marches and public meetings, as well some high-profile opposition and the latest twist, a promise from Prime Minister John Key that he will resign if there are any major mistakes with the new law.

There were heated debates in Parliament last night, with the privacy of New Zealanders' email among the most contentious issues.

Labour want the rights of Kiwis, when it comes to emails, spelled out in the new law.

Labour leader David Shearer made a push for last-minute changes to the bill yesterday but Prime Minister John Key said that he did not think that was necessary.

Labour's proposed changes came after Mr Key gave an assurance that access to New Zealanders' email content would be restricted when the GCSB was carrying out its cyber security role.

Mr Shearer reached out to United Future leader Peter Dunne, who holds one of the deciding votes, yesterday morning in a last ditch effort to change bill.

But it wasn't soon enough, Mr Dunne said.

"That is far too late for a serious amendment of this type," he said.

MPs urged to break rank

Speakers at a meeting in the Auckland Town Hall on Monday night, which attracted more than 1000 people, urged MPs to vote against the proposal.

"I think it will pass unless there is a brave National MP who's not following John Key blindly into disaster," internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom told the meeting.

Mr Dotcom if one of the key figures in the fight against the bill, after it was discovered that he was being monitored illegally.

"Maybe we'll get lucky and one of those 50 National Party members will have a conscience," added Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.

However, ONE News Deputy Political Editor Jessica Mutch said it was unlikely the meeting would change the way MPs vote.

"It would be a pretty brave National MP that would cross the floor over this issue, but whether they genuinely think they can change MPs minds, that's probably a little naive," she told TV ONE's Breakfast.

Mutch said the Government has to rush the process through as there is currently no legislation for the GCSB.

"We're in limbo, and in an ideal world it would be great if we could get cross-party consensus," she said.

"Politically the Government has to rush this through and they're in this precarious position where they have to get this through with just one vote."

The GCSB bill passed its second reading by 61 votes to 59 on August 1, after Act leader John Banks and independent MP Peter Dunne agreed to support the Government.

The Government won Mr Dunne's support after agreeing to make several major amendments to the bill.

The revised GSCB bill now includes a code of principles for the spy agency to follow as well as the introduction of an oversight panel.

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