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NZ shouldn’t be caught up in the US game over Huawei

By Keith Locke Why are we still looking to America first when it comes to our decisions on which countries to engage with, asks former MP Keith Locke. Britain’s decision to resist American pressure and let Huawei into its 5G network is embarrassing for New Zealand. Earlier our government had fallen into...

A democratic giant of Tonga – a tribute

Akilisi Pohiva died on September 12, 2019. This tribute was originally published in The Spinoff. Tongan prime minister ’Akilisi Pohiva will be mainly remembered as the country’s leading democrat. For four decades he campaigned to reduce the powers of the Tongan King...

Green gains a bright spot in a depressing Australian election

This piece was originally published on The Daily Blog.  Australia’s election result was a big downer. But there was a bright spot in the gains made by the Australian Greens. The Green vote in the Senate went up from 8.65% in...

Keith Locke’s submission to the NZ Parliament on the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill

Summary I am strongly opposed to this Bill, and I urge the Select Committee to reject it. The Bill violates the right of Members of Parliament to free speech and the freedom of political association. These are fundamental human rights guaranteed in the New Zealand Bill of Rights. The Bill violates...

Keith Locke: Party-hopping bill is a restraint on MPs’ freedom of speech

The bill before Parliament to stop party-hopping has been misnamed. The Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill should be called the Party Conformity Bill because it threatens MPs with ejection from Parliament if they don't conform to party dictates. Personal political integrity will be constrained, except on a few selected "conscience" issues,...

Keith Locke: Let’s honour centenary of those we jailed for opposing wartime conscription

(An opinion piece published in the New Zealand Herald, 13 December 2016.) Most of us know there were conscientious objectors who refused to fight in World War I. Many were sent to jail for their stand. Less well-known are the 107 New Zealanders who were convicted for "sedition", simply for...

Keith Locke: The downside to a child sex offender register

It's difficult to have an adequate discussion of sex offender legislation because anyone taking a critical stance risks being labeled as soft on sex crimes. The Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Register) Bill is a case in point. There has been little public debate even though Attorney-General Chris Finlayson says it offends our Bill of Rights.

No public accountability for the GCSB

By Keith Locke “YOU SHOULDN’T WORRY IF YOU’VE GOT NOTHING TO HIDE” is one of the mantras trotted out when New Zealanders complain about the GCSB having access to their private communications. Let’s turn that mantra around as ask those running the GCSB why the feel they have to hide from...

Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill challenges citizen rights to a passport and privacy

On 27 November I gave this "oral submission" to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee opposing the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill, which was being rushed through Parliament with unseemly haste. It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to members of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee again, and...