John Key’s speech to make us all snore

John Key’s address on national security was mild in implications, and carefully crafted to head off any political obstacles. You can read the text of his speech here.

In terms of legislative changes he has said that the Minister of Internal Affairs will be able to cancel someone’s passport for three years instead of one, and that they will be able to stop someone travelling for ten days without any documentation if they need to. This seems prudent, and it brings New Zealand in line with Australia. There is also a UN mandate for taking action to prevent people travelling to join the Islamic State (Key is still using their old acronym ISIL). Bringing that up seems to satisfy a big proportion of the public on any affairs involving conflict abroad. Helen Clark used the lack of a specific mandate from the UN to justify NZ staying out of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and Key bringing the UN in here should placate many.

Slightly more dicey is the expansion of video surveillance to allow the SIS to issue warrants allowing for the use of video surveillance on private properties. The Director of the SIS will also be empowered to authorise warrantless surveillance for up to 48 hours as long as they are sure a warrant will be issued eventually. It is meant to cover instances in which time is a factor. To make this politically palatable John Key has said the use of these powers will be subject to annual reporting to parliament on when they have been used, and there will be a sunset clause. This implies that the laws will become inactive at some point, probably when the Islamic State has been ‘downgraded’.

New Zealand is to play no combat role in Iraq. The SAS will not be deployed. Instead our army may be useful for the training of Iraqi forces, and we will play a humanitarian rebuilding role. Three unarmed military personnel have gone to Iraq to further ascertain how we can contribute, bizarrely Winston Peter has taken this as confirmation that we are already at war. Quite how he manages to be so stupid and still so politically successful is a mystery deserving analysis by a PHD student. That would be a brilliant thesis.

No mention was made of cyber surveillance, perhaps this will come later once John Key has cured himself of the Dotcom head cold. I would think it likely since the Islamic State is not only the best funded terrorist organisation in history (excepting the USA when it comes to its nightmarish espionage in South America last century), but also the most tech savy. Combating them will inevitably involve fighting on the internet, and with NZ tied into the Five Eyes security alliance it seems likely that we would take any lead from Australia and the United States.

2 thoughts on “John Key’s speech to make us all snore

  1. ObjectiveReality

    I think Winston’s less stupid than calculating, TBH. His statement reads to me as an attempt to have it both ways and be seen to be “keeping the government honest” in all possible circumstances.


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