Government says the right to freedom of expression doesn't matter at sea

By now you've probably heard of the National Government's plans to make protest at sea illegal through an amendment to the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill. From NZ Stuff:

An amendment to the Crown Minerals Bill which will allow the Defence Force to arrest and detain anti-mining protesters outside of New Zealand's 12-mile territorial limit, was introduced by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges.

It will introduce heavy penalties of up to $100,000 in fines or a year in prison for illegal protests.

The Government said the amendment was not the result of lobbying by the oil and gas industry, but rather a response to threats of criminal damage and unlawful interference.

However, a demonstration two years ago where protesters swam in front of a Petrobras drill ship was the only local incident Bridges could point to. 

Even worse, this amendment is being done as a Supplementary Order Paper and will not be referred to the Select Committee or subject to a Bill of Rights compliance report from the Attorney-General.

Greenpeace have published a legal analysis of the bill.

Opinion

I am opposed to this law and furthermore I am opposed to the way it is being pushed through without proper scrutiny. It demonstrates a government stomping on our civil liberties without even an attempt to show that it is justified.

You can sign the Greenpeace petition against the bill here.

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