Key Versus Hager


This headline is ours; the column that follows is by author Mandy Hager

Please read it and decide what sort of a country you wnat to live in.

September Column

By Mandy Hager

Two very telling events occurred this month which raise worrying questions about our civil rights. The first is the extraordinary vitriol that poured forth after the release of my brother Nicky’s book ‘Other People’s Wars.’

The second is the Supreme Court judgement that overruled police use of unlawful video footage collected as evidence for the so-called ‘Terror Trials’, and the government’s subsequent desire to rush through legislation to allow such illegal activity by the police.

We live in a country where standing up for ourselves and supporting the underdog is touted as being very much a part of our national psyche, yet when someone like Nicky (very rightly) questions the decisions and behaviours of those at the top (in the spirit of open and transparent government) he is dumped upon by everybody from our PM and new Governor General down.

Yet they do not address the issues, merely attack the man — aided, in no small part, by a deferential lazy media far more intent on pandering to those in high places (or to their own rather obvious political agendas) than asking the hard questions and analysing the facts.

If those same people were referred to with the kind of dismissive insults they piled on Nicky, they’d be calling in their lawyers double quick.

It is a tribute to Nicky’s self control that he brushes off such petty abuse and concentrates on the facts.

Our politicians and their Chief’s of Staff would do us all a service if they actually read the book and opened a discussion about a new way forward — a way that addresses transparency, integrity, security and human rights.

Right now, their dismissal of the very worrying issues raised in the book leave their own integrity in tatters. Read the book, John Key. Show some leadership and actually do something other than selling us out or stoking your own vanity.

As one child of an Austrian to another I can’t believe that you were raised dismissing human rights and civil liberties, not with the atrocities in Austria’s tragic past. So why are you so dismissive and unprincipled now?

The second very worrying development is the government’s knee-jerk reaction to the dropping of the cases in Operation 8.

If any of you have doubts about the safety and fairness of dismissing these charges I suggest you get hold of the excellent documentary entitled ‘Operation 8’ that has been doing the  rounds – it leaves no doubt as to who are the thugs here.

The fact that National and Act (and the dreadful Peter Dunn) think they have the right to step across the civil liberties of every New Zealander by passing legislation to sanction unlawful covert surveillance should have us quaking in our beds. Where does this kind of action stop?

What is most terrifying abut this case is that the majority of those caught up in the Ruatoki ‘Terror Raids’ were ordinary people merely asserting their right to protest and take a dissenting stance. It is utter lunacy to allow this type of activity to be quashed.

Where would we be now without the brave women suffragettes? The anti-nuclear protestors? The people who stood up against racism during the 1981 Springbok Tour?

Those who fought (and died) in both World Wars to uphold other’s human rights? We must protect our right to protest. We must allow diversity of points of view.

You only have to look around the world at all the war-torn countries currently in the news to see that it’s those brave enough to champion human rights who are being oppressed, tortured and killed. It’s a slippery slope from secret video surveillance and trumped-up charges to totalitarian persecution… We have to stop the rot right now.


Robin McKenzie, you have mentioned the Hager ‘philosophy’ several times above. Unless I’m mistaken, Mandy (and Nicky) Hager’s philosophy is to have a way forward that ‘addresses transparency, integrity, security and human rights’. In fact, Mandy has stated this in her article above. This may not be your philosophy Robin, but if not, I think you are in a minority.

Hang on a minute, you yourself state you want ‘vigilance and security’ in the last line of your rant. Seems like you do subscribe to the ‘Hager philosophy’ after all! That’s good because it was due to the vigilance of people like Mandy and Nicky that Prieur and Mafart (Rainbow Warrior) were caught. The government ‘intelligence’ didn’t contribute until after they’d already been captured by helping to trace their overseas links.

Mandy Hager states “Where would we be now without the brave women suffragettes? The anti-nuclear protestors? The people who stood up against racism during the 1981 Springbok Tour?” Yes, where would we be now? Ms Hager is living in the past. Those events last century were then. This is now. The world is a different place. Get used to it. If having more vigilance and restrictions is a requirement for our security and safety we should all support any measure that contributes to these basics. Mandy Hager also states “Those who fought (and died) in both World Wars to uphold other’s human rights? We must protect our right to protest. We must allow diversity of points of view.” Correct! Ms Hager is providing us with her point of view. I am expressing mine. If the Hager philosophy were to become widespread we would have no intelligence regarding potential outside threats. Have the Hagers forgotten the Rainbow Warrior already? Our security fortunately caught two of the agents who were tried,found guilty and released to a life of luxury on a French tropical paradise by a Labour government. “Those who fought (and died) in both World Wars” were comforted by the knowledge that back home there were restricions of all kinds in place that would tske flag waving Hagers to the streets. We need security. We need vigilance. We do not need the Hager philosopy.

Why the US flag? Key wants to use a legal process referred to as retroactive laws or ex-post-facto. This is not allowed in the US to protect its citizens from unfair government action. Maybe you need to find worse gov to compare Key’s actions with.

In the United States, the federal government is prohibited from passing ex post facto laws by clause 3 of Article I, section 9 of the U.S. Constitution and the states are prohibited from the same by clause 1 of Article I, section 10. This is one of the very few restrictions that the United States Constitution made to both the power of the federal and state governments prior to the Fourteenth Amendment. Over the years, when deciding ex post facto cases, the United States Supreme Court has referred repeatedly to its ruling in the Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. 386 (1798), in which Justice Samuel Chase established four categories of unconstitutional ex post facto laws. The case dealt with Article I, section 10, since it dealt with a Connecticut state law.

This government is not keen on democracy. They abolished Environment Canterbury, imposed a greater Auckland Council without a seat for Maori, fail to support Auckland’s public transport yet took control arbitrarily when it broke down for one event, fast-track legislation that diminishes human rights, appointed the top spy as governor general (though I don’t suppose that’s a democratic institution anyway it has been one of advocacy in the days eg of Sir Paul Reeves), change laws in reaction to court decsions, diminish rights to trial by jury, remove entitlements for young people who can’t find work, tell parents they must work but take away funding for professionally staffed early childhood centres…. we must be watchful and vote carefully whoever wins the rugby business world cup.


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