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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Thought crimes to become a thing in NZ

14 April 2021

As Kiwis, we all tend to think of our government as benign and having our (the citizens') best interests at heart.

Whilst this may be true in many cases, it looks increasingly as if the government is moving to give itself and its many agencies, the legal right to do things that are wildly open to abuse.

The first of these was the Criminal Proceeds (Recover) Act of 2009, a piece of legislation that allows the state to seize assets and cash from the public if they suspect that those assets/cash are the result of legal activity.

"What's wrong with that?" I hear many people ask and indeed, it does not seem right that criminals should be able to keep their ill-gotten gains does it?

Well the problem is that there is no burden for the state to prove that those are ill-gotten gains. Indeed, the person from who the booty is seized does not even have to be charged with a crime at all. The state can, at its own discretion, simply take all your worldly wealth and say "prove you didn't get this from illegal activities".

Of course you can spend a huge amount of your own money to prove your innocence... or can you? Let's remember, you don't have any money because the state has taken it on an alleged suspicion that it is the proceeds of crime. Even worse, because you have not been actually charged with a crime you do not have any access to legal aid.

Yep, you're screwed!

But of course this ability to simply strip someone of their assets would never be misused, would it? Just like police would never fit up someone like Arthur Allan Thomas for a murder he didn't commit.

Nah, that'd never happen.

I have been told that there are instances where people have lost significant amounts of land to the state solely because cannabis plants were found on that property -- even though they were never charged with an offense. I say "I have been told" because I've not been presented with irrefutable evidence of this and want to be 100% fair and clear.

So that's the sort of legislation that I do not believe is fair, honest or reasonable. ANY legislation that gives the state this sort of power without the requirement to provide legal proof of guilt is a very nasty and undesirable law.

And guess what... it looks as if another, just as bad, is on the way in the form of proposed counter-terrorism laws that will, once again, not require agencies of the state to present any proof to a court before they act against members of the public.

The bill would allow for warrantless searches based solely on suspicion and without the need to convince a court.

Now you might think "hell, anything that reduces the risk of another incident like the mosque attack in Christchurch is a good thing right?" and that would be true... except that this bill would (IMHO) seem to be a significant erosion of our already dwindling rights as free citizens of a democratic nation.

Take this quote from the Stuff article:

A new definition somewhat broadens what a terror act is, describing it as carried out for “one or more purposes” that advance such causes, to induce “fear” – not terror – in a population.

The threshold of producing "fear" is a hell of a lot lower than that to produce "terror" and that increased power opens the door to significant abuse when in the hands of the wrong people.

Let's not remember how little time has really passed since anti-terror agencies of the government were found to be operating unlawfully on a long list of occasions including the surveilance and arrest of Kim Dotcom, the Urewera raids, the Nicky Hager case, etc., etc.

The reality is that NZ's security agencies have repeatedly proven that they can not be trusted to act in a way that does not constitute an abuse of power so should we really be lowering the threshold here by way of legislation?

This bill almost goes so far as to create a new swathe of "thought crimes" where simply thinking about doing something bad could see you in big trouble. Combine this with the massive wave of WOKEism that is flooding the nation and the world right now and it becomes a recipe for abusing the fundamental freedoms and rights of many NZers.

Of course this is just a bill at the moment but it behoves every intelligent Kiwi to make submissions against the state's attempts to further insert the wedge of government control of our lives and the ongoing diminishment of our most basic rights and freedoms.

Unless you'd prefer to live on your knees than die on your feet.

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