KEITH LOCKE (Green):
The Green Party would like to speak on this motion, because I think that the Supplementary Order Paper it deals with — Supplementary Order Paper 106 — brings this House into disrepute by imposing on New Zealand a law to throw streakers into jail. That is the guts of it. There are so many serious issues before this House, and the world, including global warming, war and peace issues, violence in society, and poverty in New Zealand and around the world. Yet what are we spending Parliament’s time on? We are spending it on legislation to give prison sentences to streakers. It is absurd and laughable, and the Greens oppose the motion.
Streaking has been of amusement both to spectators and to New Zealanders watching events on television since Michael O’Brien started the practice back in Twickenham in April 1974. The police officers there were themselves somewhat amused as they intervened to cover certain parts of his anatomy with a police helmet. Three decades on, streaking has become accepted as being part and parcel of sporting events and sporting culture, and the people participating in the practice are willing to take the penalty for it. Our most recent case was of the woman in the bikini, Lisa Lewis, who streaked in Waikato not long ago. She was had up for disorderly behaviour, fined $200, and had to pay court costs of $130, but she was willing to do that. Of course, we know that she sold the bikini she wore on that occasion on TradeMe for a price of $4,500.
“Free enterprise”, I hear from the back here, so I hope that means the National Party will support the Green Party’s opposition to this motion.
We have other instances, such as Marc Ellis, who is a very strong advocate. He had his National Nude Day, and actually offered a monetary reward to anyone who streaked in front of the Prime Minister. But whether or not we support Marc Ellis on that, streaking is an area of considerable entertainment and amusement for the New Zealand populace. It is not an area where we need to be obeying the dictates of the multinationals and their advertisers, who are instructing the World Cup body to ram this legislation through the New Zealand Parliament. It could impact on the whole New Zealand culture — on the relationship between the fans of sporting events and what happens on the field.
I think one of the advantages of going to a major event these days is that there is a lot of entertainment on the stands and a bit of entertainment with streakers on the field sometimes, as well. Some of the entertainment has been reduced a bit recently. I know it used to be quite entertaining on the cricket terraces at Eden Park, although there were some downsides to that with the sexist and racists comments that sometimes ensued. But there was a whole theatre going on on the terraces for a while, and sometimes streaking was an additional part of that entertainment.
We now have the New Zealand Sevens in Wellington, which is almost total theatre. People go to watch what is happening in the stands and possibly to see a streaker on the field. In some ways the Sevens competition is a bit secondary, although I think people take an interest in and pleasure from the times when New Zealand actually wins.
It’s been a while.
Yes, it has been a while. Sometimes it is Fiji that wins, and I think Samoa is doing pretty well at the present time. I can speak from my own experience. When I was a young kid I used to go along to what was then called Lancaster Park — before its name was commercialised — in Christchurch, selling programmes and all the rest of it. The Ranfurly Shield was held by Canterbury for many years. It was a great event to go along to. Towards the end of the game, sometimes the kids, including me, would get a bit excited and run on to the field just before the game ended, to get the players’ autographs. Under this bill, kids like that would be up for 3 months in jail. That is utterly absurd.
It is ridiculous. We are taking away the magic of these events. This is a Supplementary Order Paper to a bill that is being shaped by the advertisers — not the national advertisers, the multinational advertisers such as Adidas, Reebok, and Coca-Cola, etc. They want what they call “clean” stadiums. In fact, the original bill proposed a 5-kilometre zone where people are not allowed not only to put up other advertising but anything that might be deemed to be supporting an opponent advertiser.
Given the nature of Kiwi culture, I think this whole thing will be a challenge to sports fans. Rather than reducing people streaking and other forms of advertising, it will actually increase it. What better challenge is there than to have Tui-type ads and what not within the 5-kilometre zone, or in the stadium, or whatever? There is no way they can really stop it, because people can wander in with a jacket on, wearing a T-shirt underneath with a humorous advert, and then just pull off the jacket and make a slogan with the letters on each T-shirt, or whatever they want to do — symbols, take-offs of symbols, etc. It is a joke that we should bring in such essentially repressive legislation just on the dictate of advertisers.
There is also a political dimension to it. There are 350 proud New Zealanders who in 1981 went on to the pitch at Rugby Park in Hamilton. My friend Hone Harawira here will testify to that as well. They are now considered heroes in independent, non-apartheid South Africa, because they stopped that game. That was shown on South African television. It was a major impetus, really.
They were cheering in the streets.
They were cheering in the streets, as my friend Nandor Tanczos has just said. Under this legislation, all of those 350 people would be up for 3 months in jail or a big fine. That is completely off the wall.
The definitions in this legislation as to what constitutes a major event are very broad. It can be anything. Basically, as long as quite a few people are there it becomes a major event, and Cabinet can by Order of Council determine it to be a major event at any time. We are not talking about just one event — the Rugby World Cup — we are talking about legislation that is against streakers and anything like that.
There are books around, such as When Corporations Ruled the World. The legislation that the Supplementary Order Paper is trying to amend is part of that. This is being done — let us be honest — on the dictates of multinationals, which is making it more difficult for New Zealanders to have fun. That is the guts of the whole thing.
It is important that New Zealanders do not see their participation in sporting events as being just marketing fodder. That is how this bill is treating us — as marketing fodder. Overseas, they give the rights to Reebok, Coca-Cola, or whoever the advertiser is for the World Cup or any event — it could be a Super 14 game. Whatever it might be, they give the rights to the advertiser, and from that point on we are just marketing fodder. We cannot be distracted from that product, that advertising logo, being shoved in our faces along the 5-kilometre route to the stadium — because there is that 5-kilometre exclusion zone — on all the fences around the stadium, and on the billboards around the grounds of the stadium. It is a case of bash, bash, bash with the advertisers’ messages. Obviously, it is very hard to avoid that sort of thing in society, given the power of those multinationals, but we should not be encouraging it and reducing our own rights by saying to streakers like Lisa Lewis — who gave a lot of fun to the nation and appeared on lots of TV programmes: “You were wrong.”