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August 19, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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How to Lose Votes and Alienate Supporters

On page three of the National Party constitution, you will find the values that the Party and its MPs strive to reflect. Among these are “individual freedom” and “limited government”. To an uninformed bystander, it would come as a surprise that the very government that is bound to express these values is the same government that has spent the last four years eroding our individual freedoms and expanding the power of government.

The last month has seen the Government dramatically move away from the principles which many of its supporters hold dear. The GCSB Bill violates the freedom from surveillance and rights to privacy which New Zealanders hold dear. It vastly expands the legal capabilities of the government to track the communications of New Zealand citizens, massively expanding government powers of surveillance and data collection. Limited government? Yeah right.

In the past few weeks, not only has the Government invaded our privacy, but invaded the lives of fishermen (and women). Showing total disregard for his own party’s values, Nathan Guy recommended that recreational fishers be limited to just three fish per day. Years of labelling the Fifth Labour Government as “nanny-state” was beginning to smell a little fishy.

But that wasn’t all. Paula Bennett last week announced law changes which would enable suspected child-abusers, without conviction, to be prevented by court order from approaching children. The Government, not content with infringing on the liberties of all of us by spying or by restricting our recreational fishing quota, is now moving towards passing laws which will enable restrictions on the freedom of movement of people without conviction.

Fishers, spies and (suspected) child-abusers are far from the only targets of this government. The Government has insidiously passed laws preventing young people from using sunbeds; further restricted the freedom of prisoners to vote; limited the range of products beneficiaries can buy in supermarkets; forbidden protests at sea; passed numerous pieces of legislation under urgency—preventing public scrutiny; allowed searches without warrants; eroded the rights of young workers, and the rights of unions; and even passed legislation with swathes of supporting documents withheld as “secret”. If Labour was creating a “nanny state”, then National is building a “daddy state”—and a nasty one at that.

National, it’s time to take a look at yourself. You’re not like the old National. You’ve changed. It’s time for some self-improvement.

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