The government of New Zealand is sneaking in its controversial "3-strikes" Internet disconnection law tonight as part of its emergency legislation dealing with the Christchurch earthquke. Bill 92A was passed once before and then rescinded after massive popular demonstrations, letter writing campaigns and outrage. It provided for the disconnection of entire families from the Internet after being accused — without proof or due process — of copyright infringement. The new law only comes into effect if copyright infringement somehow magically declines over the next two years (that is, if the Internet somehow gets worse at copying data). When it comes into effect, it means that the livelihoods, civic engagement, education, social mobility, political engagement, and other online activities will be subject to suspension without trial or evidence for anyone accused of copyright infringement.
Using the tragedy in Christchurch as a means to advance the corporate agenda of offshore entertainment giants is shameful, to say the least. It's hard to imagine the depravity at work in the mind of the big content lobbyist who decided that hitching a ride on emergency legislation to address the horrific consequences of the Christchurch quake was a good idea.
The House is currently in urgency to pass Christchurch earthquake recovery measures. But a spokesman for Simon Power, who sponsors the bill, confirmed other legislation would also be rushed through.
Green MP Gareth Hughes is opposed to any restriction of access to the web.
He was unaware the bill was coming up today and will move an amendment calling for the clause to be removed.
"It really surprised me because we haven't debated it since November," he said.
After a select committee heard overwhelming opposition to cutting off the internet the legislation was revised.
The penalty remains but can only be brought into force by the minister by an order in council.
The Government will oppose Hughes amendment, Power said.