Saturday, 28 March 2015

I've got the Paua (power)

New Zealand, led by the 'honourable John Key' finally managed to get elected to the United Nations Security Council back in October 2014 (6 months ago now) ahead of Spain and Turkey. Key marketed our bid at the UN and around the Pacific as one that would provide representation for the small states, giving them a voice. A friendly big brother who would look after their interests.

It seemed to me that this was all really something of an ego-trip for Mr Key; simply giving him the chance to play with the big boys and feel good about himself. 

So how has this played out ... this representation of the smaller states? Have they seen any benefits? 

In early March 2015 it was revealed that the NZ GCSB has been spying on our Pacific Islands for some time and conducting 'mass collection', effectively collecting all electronic data available. There was then some debate about the legality of this, because NZ law makes it illegal for our Government to spy on NZ citizens without a warrant. We then had a series of debates about the rather fine distinction between 'mass data collection' and 'mass surveillance'. GCSB might be collecting data from New Zealand citizens in the Pacific, but they (apparently) filter this out somehow, so it is not 'surveillance' and remains legal according to NZ law. So we're all OK with that then ...(?)

The question still remains - how do our Pacific neighbours feel about being spied on? Now the fact that this is going on is public knowledge, does that allow them to feel more secure? There has been no real public debate about that in NZ. Yet again, its all about our own interests.

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