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JustPeace Campaign Page
Don’t Sign Away New Zealand’s Right To Criticise Human Rights Abusers
Warning the Prime Minister against signing a non-interference pact with ASEAN, because it would inhibit New Zealand’s ability to stand up publicly to human rights violators, Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said on 29 November “We shouldn’t sign away our right to speak out against human rights abuses in South East Asia.”
“Instead of joining ASEAN countries in a ‘non-interference’ declaration, we should be encouraging them to be more forthright about the need for political freedom.
“New Zealand should champion the rights of the downtrodden, whether it be in Burma, or in the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and West Papua. We can’t stand by while people are killed, tortured and imprisoned.
“No ASEAN country is yet fully democratic. It would only slow progress on civil liberties for New Zealand to go soft now.”
A Great Day For Justice
was Keith’s reaction to the November 25 decision that the Supreme Court would consider Ahmed Zaoui’s application for bail on December 9.
“I am delighted for Ahmed and his family. The day he is able to live freely in New Zealand with his family is drawing near,” Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mr Locke said.
“At last, after two years, the compassion of New Zealanders is close to being realised. I congratulate the judges wholeheartedly for their decision, which should see Ahmed released by the end of the year.
“I am sure that, once he is out, people will see Ahmed is not an Islamic extremist or terrorist, and that he has a great deal to contribute to New Zealand as a university academic.
“This decision inspires me to campaign more strongly in defence of civil and political rights, which have been increasingly under threat in New Zealand and around the world since September 11. There was huge community support for justice for Ahmed, and this decision validates that support.”
The Identity Bill Is Bad For NZ
said Keith on 23 November 2004. The Identity (Citizenship and Travel Document) Bill, as reported back from the Government Administration Committee, will discourage skilled migrants from coming here and undermine our civil liberties.
Keith sat on the committee and submitted a joint minority report with Progressive MP Matt Robson.
“Committee chair Dianne Yates is using sophistry when she argues today that we won’t be disadvantaged in the competition for skilled migrants because residents here have more rights that those in Australia.
“What migrants want are citizenship and a passport. Under this Bill it is going to take five years residency in New Zealand and only two years across the Tasman. The Australian Government will be laughing at us.
“To add insult to injury, time spent contributing to New Zealand on business and work visas will no longer count in the qualifying period.
“Yates also shouldn’t use September 11 to justify the Minister of Internal Affairs being given the ‘national security’ power to take away a citizen’s passport. Even in the depths of the Cold War, New Zealanders didn’t follow the American lead and take away people’s passports on security grounds. Dissenters like American singer Paul Robeson lost their passports in this way.
“This Identity Bill is security gone mad. Surely, the present rigorous checks on prospective residents and the three years waiting time for citizenship are enough to smoke out any terrorists.
Allegations Against The Security Intelligence Service Are Too Serious To Ignore
was Keith’s initial reaction to a major story in the Sunday-Star Times of 21 November.
“Green MP Keith Locke is calling for an inquiry into the Security Intelligence Service following claims from former agents that it has been spying on Maori organisations, including the Maori Party.
“The accusations in today’s Sunday Star-Times are too serious to sweep under the carpet,” said Mr Locke, the Green Party’s Security and Intelligence spokesperson.
“If true, they show the SIS is going way beyond its legal mandate and is engaged in political harassment. The SIS has no justification in spying on Maori organisations whose only crime is to disagree with government policies.”
As the week wore on, others came to the same conclusion and an inquiry was called, which Keith welcomed on November 24, saying:
The Greens have welcomed the announcement of an Inspector-General inquiry into allegations of impropriety by the SIS but believe it will not be wide-ranging enough.
“The allegations made against the SIS have raised very troubling questions about the actions of our intelligence services,” Green Defence and Disarmament Spokesperson Keith Locke said. “New Zealanders deserve comprehensive answers to those questions, and this inquiry will be too narrow to provide them.
“New Zealanders won’t be able to have confidence in the SIS if all we get is the Inspector General taking a look when, to date, the person in that role has failed miserably in performing its watchdog role.
“We recognise that we have a new Inspector-General, Mr Paul Neazor, but we believe a broader inquiry should be conducted by a group of people not so closely tied to the existing monitoring system.”
The following day Keith defended the right of journalists to protect their sources and pointed out that there is a choice between having an inquiry in order to punish those who raised the issues and investigating the truth:
“Helen Clark should make up her mind whether she wants an inquiry to punish the Sunday Star-Times and Scoop over what she calls ‘preposterous’ claims, or whether she wants the truth,” said Mr Locke, the Party’s Security and Intelligence spokesperson.
“Forcing journalists to disclose their sources only discourages whistle blowing, which is often the first step in uncovering wrongdoing.
“Helen Clark should be congratulating the journalists for their public service, as she did when Nicky Hager used secret whistleblowers to kick off the Timberlands scandal. In any case, the reporters’ sources may go before the Inspector-General of their own initiative, if there are guarantees of confidentiality.”
Read Keith’s releases:
November 21: SIS allegations too serious to ignore, says Locke
November 22: Locke backs Brash / Peters call for independent SIS inquiry
November 24: Greens call for broader inquiry into SIS activities
November 25: Don’t make this a punitive inquiry
Ahmed Zaoui Events
Saturday, December 4, 12 noon, Mt Eden Remand Prison
Two Years Too Long – Free Zaoui Now” – Public Rally
: Tuesday 7 December, 7:00pm St Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby. – Also Ahmed Zaoui’s birthday – the third he has spent in detention in New Zealand.
: Wednesday 8 December 2004, 6pm, St John’s Church Hall – Corner of Willis and Dixon Streets. Public meeting.
Speakers include Amnesty International, Deborah Manning – lawyer, Tom Scott, Frank Haden and others. Please bring a flower(s)
Three Actions For Human Rights
Check out the new
Green human rights page
for information on how you can support the campaign to free Ahmed Zaoui and other human rights initiatives.
Support the Indigenous Peoples’ Hunger Strike at the UN November 29-December 4.
Read the statement and how to send support at
PMA – Support the Indigenous Peoples’ Hunger Strike at the UN
The Indigenous Peoples’ representatives at United Nations are taking this action to draw attention to the attempts to weaken and undermine the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Please take the time to send a message of solidarity to the hunger strikers and fasters today.
Support the campaign to stop legal violence against children. A new resource – ‘Repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act’ leaflets (“There is no law that permits an adult to assault another adult. There is no law that permits an adult to assault a dog or a cat. There is a law which permits an adult to assault a child in their care.” ) is now available. If you can help distribute these leaflets, contact Beth Wood (email
unicef [dot] org [dot] nz
) including your name, postal address (the leaflets are only available in paper form), and saying how many leaflets you would like.
- Check out the new
Shameful, Racist And A Tragedy For New Zealand
was how Green MP Metiria Turei described the Foreshore and Seabed legislation on 19 November 2004, in her speech in the House. Peace begins with justice, and Metiria makes the case that this unjust denial and removal of Maori rights is a form of violence.
”Let me first acknowledge all of those who are in the gallery today to witness this travesty; those who are outside the Parliament in protest; those who are listening to this debate in their homes, in sorrow; those who made submissions against the legislation; and those who were part of the amazing hīkoi to Parliament in May. I also acknowledge Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Toa, and Rangitāne, who all took the Ngāti Apa case through the Court of Appeal and now are about to have their lawfully acquired rights destroyed by legislation.
It is with the deepest sadness that I stand at the third reading of this legislation. When I was given the honour of becoming a member of Parliament, I looked forward to trying to find ways to make real changes that would benefit my people. The tangata whenua in this country have worked incredibly hard to combat the personal and structural racism that has been a blight on the colonisation of this land. Much of that racism has been expressed in legislation like the Māori Prisoners Act, which dispensed with trials for Māori prisoners; the New Zealand Settlements Act, whereby 3 million acres of land were confiscated; the native reserves land Act, which took even more land in confiscation; and the Native Health Act, which made it illegal for Māori women to breastfeed their babies and adopt under the whāngai system. In the face of that racism-the legislation that has confiscated our land, undermined our tikanga, and abused our people-we have nonetheless become very successful. We have held on to our tikanga, our values, and our identity.
We have advanced and developed them. We have been successful in business, education, law, and politics. We have successfully supported our communities. We have achieved in all walks of life and taken on the challenges levelled against us. Our tenacity in our commitment to the restoration of our rights on our own land is exemplary. In attempting to restore our confiscated land rights we have used every forum available to us-every commission and every court since colonisation took place, right up to the present day.
We, like other citizens, have relied on the honour of the State. In using the forums of the State to assert our rights, we have relied on the Government to honour its own processes. In the 3rd millennium, after all this work, one would expect that our right to be Māori in our own land would be undeniable and that our role as parliamentarians now would be to build on that work to advance the social, economic, and constitutional position of the tangata whenua.
But, no, I find that, in accepting this privilege to be in Parliament, instead of working effectively for the progression of my people I am thrust back in time 150 years and returned to the struggle against colonial power, the struggle to hold up the rights tangata whenua had even under the colonial common law-fighting the same arguments over the confiscation of land, objecting again to parliamentary sovereignty flexing its muscle against tangata whenua regardless of the justice of the issue, fighting the same manipulation and deception, and fighting the same arrogance and paternalism. No, by this legislation this House is returned to the same indecent fight: the fight to be Māori in our own land.
This bill is a direct descendant of the racist legislation of our colonial forebears and, to our shame, it is done in the name of all New Zealanders. I know from my travels around this country, from the submissions, from the hui that I have attended, from those who travelled on the hīkoi, and from those outside and on Parliament grounds right now that thousands of New Zealanders are crying out: “Not in our name. No raupatu in our time. No raupatu in our name.”
I am proud at least to be here on behalf of the Green Party of Aotearoa / New Zealand to join our voices to those of the thousands of New Zealanders who object to this unjust, confiscatory legislation. The Greens oppose this bill because we are committed to justice, and we are prepared to stand up for that principle. We have been tireless in our advocacy for the protection of Māori customary rights. The Government has tried to justify its abuse by saying that Māori customary rights are protected, but no amount of intellectual pretzelism nor media spin, will change the fact that Māori customary rights are extinguished and that the foreshore and seabed remains under the threat of exploitation, damage, and-still-sale.
We have been tireless in our advocacy for the protection of the ecology of the foreshore and seabed itself; our precious coast. This bill perpetuates bad environmental management of the coast. Raw sewage is still being pumped into the sea; fragile dune ecology, shellfish beds, and nesting grounds remain vulnerable to four-wheel drives and other damaging human activity; and inappropriate sale, coastal subdivision, and commercial development on historical headlands like Tauroa Point still continue. The poisoning of our communities, families, and children continues unabated in places like Whakatāne, because of the dumping of toxic mill pulp on the foreshore and the failure of any authorities to take responsibility for cleaning it up. Our coast is at real risk. We rely on coastal communities of all kinds taking responsibility for their areas, patrolling and protecting the coast, and conserving and replanting. Those communities rely on good relationships and cooperation. How are they rewarded by Parliament? Their communities are divided by racist legislation, their work is undermined, and their commitment is left unacknowledged and uncertain. So many hapū and whānau take direct responsibility for the awhi of the coast, exercising over decades their tūpuna-derived kaitiakitanga.
How are they rewarded for their work? They are viciously punished for exercising their tikanga, their rights are stripped away, and they are treated as pariahs in their own country. We make a final plea to this Government and just ask it not to do it. This Parliament is at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history: to return to our paternalistic past, or take the path of justice and peace, and we are about to blow it. We will blow it on greed, on the desire for power, on intellectual fallacies, and on political expediency. All New Zealanders will hold this Parliament to account for the wrong that the Government is about to commit. For Māori, we have been here before and, no doubt, we will be here again, defending our right to be Māori in our own country. We welcome our Pākehā friends and colleagues who object to this raupatu in their name to join us in this struggle. Together, we will continue to seek justice and peace in our country.”
The speech is archived at
Greens: Shameful, racist and a tragedy for NZ
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