NZ government moves to silence dissent

Issue 

WELLINGTON — New Zealand Prime Minister Jenny Shipley has indicated that the law will be changed to allow the Security Intelligence Service to break and enter people's houses.

The moves came in early December after the NZ Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the SIS was acting illegally when it broke into activist Aziz Choudry's Christchurch home two years ago during an alternative forum supported by the anti-free trade group Corso.

Choudry, a Corso member who is well known for his opposition to New Zealand's membership of APEC, had appealed the SIS's refusal to let him see documents about the break-in.

Shipley's moves are "a declaration of war against dissent", Corso national coordinator Suzanne Menzies-Culling said on December 15. "We have seen how repressive legislation has been used time and time again against people who have spoken out against government policies, whether in Malaysia, Chile, India or the Pacific.

"But similar kinds of repressive policies and laws are being used and abused by so-called democratic governments such as Canada, the USA and New Zealand. The targets are often people who have spoken out against the violation of indigenous peoples' rights and the economic policies of governments ...

"In 1996, we warned that the expansion of SIS power to protect 'New Zealand's economic well-being and international well-being' could be interpreted to allow the SIS to target organisations, unions, academics and citizens who challenge the extremist free-market policies of successive New Zealand governments."

According to Menzies-Culling, "With APEC coming to New Zealand next year, it is quite clear that this move is an attempt to further silence dissent and to create the conditions for untold human rights abuses next year".

Australian, Canadian and British laws governing intelligence agencies allow spies to enter private property.

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