Hey NZ Police! GTFO of our Internetz!

The NZ Police raided a house yesterday and arrested some people. Around the same time US authorities shut down a popular website, Megaupload

The first sentence is commonplace, we all know the NZ police love to raid homes (mostly rentals) and arrest people, hey its part of their job. In this case it was an extremely luxurious rental to be sure (thanks Chrisco!). Normally its for life threatening crimes against humanity such as growing herbs in the backyard or holding audio tapes from conversations made by corrupt politicians. This time however it was because they had been working with US authorities in a timed attack on internet freedom under cover of protecting copyright.

The arrest of the people running MegaUpload was quite nicely timed in the middle (well nearing the end) of the debate around SOPA/PIPA (though the spectre of terrible internet controlling legislation will be around for awhile yet). The arrests speak further to the propaganda of ‘stopping piracy’ when really whats at stake are our internet freedoms.

So to the point really, why are the NZ police involved? Lets get political for a second, this article on Stuff by Henry Cooke, has him getting ahold of some politicians and asking them what they thought of the bill (or trying to). It will come as no surprise  to readers of this blog  that Gareth Hughes had the best of the responses; ‘He called the bill “draconian,” mentioned how much “fear and uncertainty” it would cause, harming innovation throughout the world, and “would like to see the New Zealand Government […] express concern through diplomatic channels.” He also mentioned the New Zealand Copyright Act and how legislators with “limited knowledge of the internet are regulating it with chilling implications.” He tweeted today that the Green Party website will be blacking out in protest.’

Labour MP and party IT spokesperson Clare Curran didn’t come out against the bill directly (correct me if I’m wrong) which is standard fare from Labour, all sizzle no sausage. Although, they have retrospectively come out against the ‘Skynet’ bill (which they voted for in the first place allowing it to pass) Labour and it’s MP’s are guilty of being just as un-knowledgeable as some of the rest of the worlds politicians when it comes to ‘Teh Internetz’. Cracks me up. Still, better than nothing from Labour though eh?

Speaking of nothing, National MP Amy Adams, National’s Technology spokesperson, came back to the poor bloke with nothing, not even a ‘Thankyou for your email but we receive a lot of correspondence and no matter what the public say we’ll do what we’re told by large corporate interests‘ type email. Pretty lame if you ask me. But as one of the commenter’s on that same Stuff article points out, that’s standard fare for National, ignore it and hope it goes away, or if it doesn’t, change a law under urgency. No surprises there. If Labour dressed up and took the odd free dinner date from US corporate interests every once in awhile for the sake of ‘beneficial mutual relations’, then National goes straight to bed and skips the foreplay. National and the US are more like best mates than Labour and the US, which at least have a love/hate relationship. Read Nicky Hagers book ‘Secret Power‘.

I won’t get into the other parties, National ACT MP John Banks couldn’t rub two internetz together to start a book burning fire and unconfirmed sources report United Future MP Peter Dunne may still be using Windows NT. Hone wouldn’t have a bar of it I’m sure, he gets it, and NZ First would probably need Curwen’s help to get their head round it.

So back to the NZ Police raiding the homes of ‘internet criminals’, oh wait they were providing a service that non-criminals used too? And now the whole future of the cloud is at stake? Noone wants to upload their files anywhere, legal or not, if the government keeps on shutting down every site that hosts ’em and then steals them all, like some sort of modern day pirates plundering booty to take back to their island where they amass their riches, oh wait… SNAP! Talk about double standards!

This isn’t a blog post about the evils of piracy, its about the evils of restricting the internet and bowing down to corporate pressure so they can ram their views down your throat while making shedloads of money from it, all the while denying people their rights.
Oh and by the way, if you’re against SOPA/PIPA and have been tweeting and facebooking about it, and voted for National, why? Don’t forget that the Greens were the only Party to vote against the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing Amendment) Act 2011 which attempts to do largely the same thing.

Speech by Hamilton West Green candidate to Campaign for Better Transport in Hamilton

What follows is my speech as the Green party of Aotearoa New Zealand candidate for Hamilton West, delivered at the first public ‘Meet the Candidates’ meeting held in Hamilton NZ by the Campaign for Better Transport.

“Kia Ora, good evening Hamilton.

My name is Max Coyle and I am standing for the Green Party in Hamilton West.

Cars have ripped apart my family, and ripped apart communities. Over three successive years an entire branch of my family was wiped out by car accidents leaving 5 people dead and 2 of my cousins orphaned. The car culture which see’s a car as an aspiration and symbol of wealth in our country today is unhealthy, and also unsustainable. Cars kill and they are inefficient. With the rising cost of fuel and the environmentally destructive methods needed to obtain the black gold, this culture has to end, but that’s not really what I’m here to talk to you about, I’m here to talk about a healthier and more cost-effective and economically beneficial solution, excellent public transport.

Public Transport is about community and you always meet amazing people on trips. On the other hand, motorways are barriers that all too often cut through the heart of communities. Where public transport brings people together, motorways keep people apart.

When my son is older I would like to take him to the beach, or to one of our rivers (once the Greens have made sure they are all cleaned up) and on our trips there I would like to spend time with him, entertain each other and make sure that every moment together counts, I want to be able to look my son in the eye, because the day he was born I realized that those eyes are where I find the most powerful unconditional love in myself I never knew existed. Instead I have to watch the road for fear of killing us all. One of the great things about public transport is that I can actively engage with those I am traveling with, you can not do that in a car traveling at 100km’s an hour.

I often have to travel to Auckland or Wellington and currently that time is wasted. It will be great when I can get my laptop out and connect to the net and get some work done on my journeys. It would not only make me more productive, just imagine how much more productive our whole country could become. Has anyone been to a city overseas where the public transport was effortless? How amazing does it make your trip? I’m sure tourists visiting our 74% pure country would be stoked to have the same experience here.

With amazing public transport which is both cost-effective and comfortable, efficient and timely, well planned and well run, we CAN change the car culture we live in. Being stuck in traffic could become a thing of the past. Every day around Hamilton West I see people driving cars with no passengers. It doesn’t make sense to be lugging a couple of tonnes of metal around by yourself on most trips and it will make even less sense when petrol is $5 a litre.

We must plan for a city of the future Hamilton. We must grasp our opportunity to be an accessible and economically successful city, now and into the future. Which is why I am standing for the political party of the future in the city of the future. My name is Max Coyle and I’m standing as the Green Party candidate for Hamilton West and on November 26th I invite you, to PARTY VOTE GREEN”

I visited the Waitangi Tribunal Library for the first time ever last week. Not to do some research on ‘Wai 262’ though I heard from the receptionist things had been busier there over the past 2 days. My visit was to see something on one of the walls, not in one of the documents, or books on one of the many shelves, well taken care of by a wonderful team of dedicated people.

One of those people was my Uncle, which brings me back to my visit. When I was quite young over the space of 3 years a complete branch of my family was wiped out. 2 Uncles, 2 aunties and 1 baby cousin. The first accident was a drunk driver crossing the centreline and crashing into my Uncle’s car. The other car following my Uncle plowed into the back of his car, causing my Uncles Ford Capri to be crushed betwee the two, I can’t remember whether he died instantly or minutes later. Hamilton West Green Party candidate Max Coyle and his Uncle the late Brett Sinclair

Exactly a year after that, 3 days before my Uncles unveiling, his mother, my Great Aunty Rangi died. The clinical diagnosis was a heart attack, though the rest of the family talked about her dying of grief, even at 14 I was quickly learning how powerful grief was. I believed my relatives, that it was the last year since the death of her beloved son, Brett Sinclair, that had taken too deep a toll. Having seen Rangi 4 months previously for what would be the last time, I remember seeing the shadow of a woman, standing where a once vibrant, warm and welcoming aunty once greeted us with baking and soup and a hug whose absence leaves me cold even today.

Fast forward a year and the family is having another reunion, this time on a happier note and we are preparing for an Uncles wedding. Our grandmothers large house in Gore is full of relatives from all over NZ and all the young cousins/brothers/sisters/nieces/nephews are playing upstairs.

A knock at the door see’s a policeman at the door, cap in hand. he has come as death’s messenger and informs us that My Auntie Lee, Bretts Sister, her husband and their 1 year old son have been killed in a car accident en-route to the wedding after my Uncle fell asleep at the wheel. There two older boys, my cousins, survived the crash, and were never the same again.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time during my speech to tell this story, I wish that I had. National both during the public meeting and through their policies are saying that the numbers just don’t stack up on funding public transport. David Bennett the chairperson on the Transport Working group refused to accept the 11’500 signatures from Waikato people calling for a passenger train to Hamilton. My number is 5, 5 dead, and I wish that number counted for something.