Yesterday, the government decided that once again, it was important to run rough shod over parliamentary scrutiny by passing a motion for urgency and introducing new Bills and asking for debate before anyone had even seen the legislation.
The Clerk of the House advises that urgency be accorded the introduction and first reading of the Taxation (Business Tax Measures) Bill, the Gangs and Organised Crime Bill, the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill, and the Sentencing (Offender Levy) Amendment Bill.
So this week we’re going to tax the crims, create curb-appeal police to clean up Wanganui’s ill dressed households on top of Chester Burrow’s fashion police, and we are going to take DNA samples from everyone arrested for an imprisonable offence to profile them against a database, all without proper parliamentary scrutiny. I seem to recall a certain Hon Dr Nick Smith bludgeoning the last government for “rushing” legislation (which had, in fact, gone through a proper select committee process) and calling it un-democratic. It seems the new government is no better.
Tumeke has an interesting take on the DNA bill and an “exclusive” on police profiling here.
NoRightTurn blasts the DNA Bill as a violation of the Bill of Rights Act, here.
RadioNZ has a brief summary here.
What I would like to know is; How the law will differentiate between a law-abiding person with a gated driveway and a suspected gang house with the same? Are we not about to criminalise both? And what are the enhanced surveillance powers being given to police, ostensibly to fight the gangs? Will they be turned upon other groups that the police think are threatening? Just how are we going to define “gangs”?
The report on the first reading debate can be heard here. (audio)
And as far a taxing the crims, well, populist an idea that it is, is it even remotely practical in the real world? Are criminals as likely to pay their fines on time as anyone else?
I will stop short of damning it all outright, but I wonder if we haven’t traded in the nanny state for Big Brother.