Law changes in reaction to the Christchurch massacre

Thomas Beagle, Chairperson of the NZCCL, wrote an article for The Spinoff about some of the possible law changes in reaction to the Christchurch massacre including mass surveillance, banning of websites, and hate speech.

Any new government restrictions and controls raise concerns for our civil liberties. The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act includes freedom of thought, freedom of association, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and of course, freedom of expression. All of these rights are threatened by increased controls and monitoring of what people say and read online.

However, these rights are not absolute. ... The Bill of Rights says these may be reasonably limited by law “as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”. Justification must include that the proposed changes will be effective, possible to implement, as minimal as possible, based in law, and administered fairly. And, importantly, that the changes won’t do more damage to society and our freedom than the harm they’re attempting to stop.

He finishes with:

And the one parting thought I’d like to leave you with is that while some argue that the rise of the extreme right is a good reason to give our government more power to monitor people and limit certain forms of political expression, the international rise of neo-fascist governments is surely a reason to make sure we don’t carelessly give our government powers that may be used against us in the future.

 

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