Protestors May Be Fined Up To $100,000 For Protesting At Sea if this new law is implemented.
Peter Williams, QC, a prominent New Zealand criminal lawyer, says that the government must be stopped in making changes to a current law which will outlaw protesting at sea.
“This is shocking legislation. This is Fascist legislation. This is Draconian legislation and New Zealanders need to be made aware of it”, said Peter Williams, QC..
Peter Williams QC spoke on New Zealand National Radio News this morning, Tuesday 9th April, 2013, warning about the serious change to a law which the national government, under PM John Key, is trying to whip through.
The change to this law is designed to attract foreigners to our shores to take oil, says Peter Williams QC.
And this is exactly what PM John Key would have been up to whilst visiting Brazil recently. Brazil is the home of the Petrobras Oil Giant, who gave up their oil drilling plans here last year on account of public protest against them. John Key has been awfully busy visiting other South American countries in recent weeks, and is currently in China. God Help Us and our little country while John Key is at the helm.
In much the same way as he went off on his trip to visit Hollywood film bosses just before the ILLEGAL raid on Kim Dotcom, he is off overseas again, surreptitiously selling off our stuff and telling of his secret plans to all those overseas who will benefit from them.
In much the same way as he changed the labour law here in New Zealand, which he said was implemental in gaining Hollywood’s committment to make ‘The Hobbit’ on our New Zealand soil, he is busy changing other laws to suit himself and big business interests. Then, it turns out, as ‘Campbell Live’ revealed, that Hollywood had ALREADY agreed to making the movies here BEFORE John Key changed the labour law which reduces the rights of employees working on film sets here. So John Key LIED to us about the need to change that law to attract Hollywood business here – Hollywood was going to come here anyway. He used Hollywood film-making in NZ as a convenient reason to get that law changed quickly, because we were likely to swallow the Hollywood theme, he surmized. And we did. Because we did not know the truth.
John Key is bringing about changes to laws that reduce the rights of the worker, and the protestor, and which only advantage big business interests.
John Key has stated publicly that he thinks it is a good thing that there are so many unskilled people here on a minimum wage, because that will attract Chinese businesses and other overseas businesses, to set up here. He has also said that his intention was to reduce by half the already low minimum wage which young people earn. Again, this is serving the interests of big business.
Protest Against Ocean Oil Drilling In New Zealand: The NZ National Government under John Key’s leadership is pushing to have the law changed so that their plans to let overseas oil drilling companies come here go unchallenged.
If the law is passed, then we will not be allowed to protest against nuclear ships, or oil drilling in our seas, or over-fishing by foreign ships, or anything else which involves protesting at sea.
The new law proposes to fine protestors up to $100,000 if they get within 500 metres of a vessel at sea.
A protestor who was aboard a protest ship recently pointed out that the law is only interested in stopping protestors, whilst the vessel being protested about is permitted to commit acts of violence against protestors. While on a protest ship recently, he witnessed a protestor being beaten and his eye taken out by the French adversaries. The new law will encourage this kind of unlawfulness and abuse, protecting the rights of those connected to big business, whilst the environmental protestor is punished twice over – The protestor is likely to suffer violence dealt out from the opposition vessel, and then by our own government in the form of jail or a hefty fine.
Sir Geoffrey Palmer is also protesting against this new law. He and Peter Williams, QC have started an organization to prevent the government making the change to this law which will seriously impinge on our rights.
The right to protest is an integral part of our democratic society. The right to protest is part of the Bill of Rights Act. We must protect our right to demonstrate and protest.
Read Merrilyn’s other post on the ‘right to protest at sea issue’, entitled: NZers Vote To Protect Right To Protest At Sea.
Defend the right to peaceful protest at sea. Sign the online Greenpeace protest below:
Greenpeace Email urging people to protest which I received today:
When nobody was watching over Easter, our Government did something shocking. It set in motion a rushed law change that will criminalise peaceful protest at sea.
This change won’t be open to public consultation, or be vetted for breaches of the Bill of Rights, and it is to be signed and sealed by Parliament in only a few days from now.
This is a serious challenge to our democracy, to our long held right, and proud tradition of peaceful protest at sea.
Because all this comes just in time for Texan Oil Company Anadarko’s imminent deep sea oil drilling plans, we have dubbed it the Anadarko Amendment.
It is obviously designed to benefit foreign deep sea oil drillers like Anadarko, and to penalise ordinary New Zealanders who want to defend our waters from an oil disaster.
In the seventies and eighties, ordinary people just like you took to the sea in their own boats to protest against nuclear powered ships and submarines entering New Zealand harbours. And they were not criminals.
From the seventies to the nineties more people, just like you, sailed to Moruroa to protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. They were not criminals either. In 1973 the NZ Government itself sent two ships – the HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Canterbury to Moruroa Atoll to protest French nuclear testing. They were not criminals. In 2010 a flotilla went to sea off the East Cape to protest the Petrobras deep-sea oil survey ship. They were not criminals.
Far from being criminal acts, those protests at sea meant we stopped nuclear ships and submarines entering our harbours. We stopped French nuclear testing in the Pacific, and Petrobras abandoned its oil drilling plans in our waters. Our country safer and less polluted as a consequence – and that is why it is so important to defend the right to protest at sea now.
Indeed these extraordinary acts, by ordinary people have come to define New Zealand as a brave and independent nation that is not afraid to stand up for itself.
Now our own Government is undermining that right and proud tradition. We must voice our opposition to this law loudly, and we must do it now.
Thank you for your support,
Nick and the whole crew at Greenpeace