Help PMA grow | Petition forms | Site map | PMA main page
Update - SIS court case
Peace Movement AotearoaPO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173, firstname.lastname@example.org
8 July 1999
here is the APEC Monitoring Group's media release on the Tuesday ruling by the Appeal Court on the release of documents related to the ongoing court case which follows the illegal break-in to Aziz Choudry's home by SIS agents in 1996. The court case is continuing, this ruling is but one element of it.
The ruling is in our opinion quite extraordinary as it basically says that the Prime Minister (in this case Jenny Shipley) can be trusted to decide on matters of 'national security' , but the Court cannot be entrusted with the relevant documents to make an independent decision on 'national security' matters. A very dangerous precedent in terms of the powers of politicians overriding that of the judiciary.
MEDIA RELEASE FROM AOTEAROA/NEW ZEALAND APEC MONITORING GROUP FOR IMMEDIATE USE
6 JULY 1999
Opponents of the APEC forum were concerned and disappointed at the Court of Appeal judgement in the Choudry case released today.
Four of the five judges have ruled that the SIS (Security Intelligence Service) does not have to participate in full disclosure to the High Court of documents relating to their illegal break-in of Mr Choudry's house during a 1996 APEC Trade Ministers Meeting in Christchurch.
The judges ruled that a certificate provided by Prime Minister Jenny Shipley saying the release of the documents will prejudice national security, an "ongoing security concern" and relate to an "operational matter" is sufficient reason to prevent the High Court judge in the case from reviewing the documents.
The APEC Monitoring Group agrees with dissenting Court of Appeal Justice Thomas that this ruling effectively gives the SIS and the Prime Minister protection from any real scrutiny of their activities and allows them to use the "mantra of national security" to keep secret from public and judicial view any information they deem to be prejudicial to their activities.
"This judgement is particularly disturbing coming as it does in the year New Zealand hosts the APEC forum. The government has already shown its willingness to break the law when it comes to opponents of APEC and its free trade agenda. Given the extreme measures the government has been willing to employ to avoid explaining the activities of the SIS during the 1996 APEC Trade Ministers meeting any assurance given that opponents of APEC in 1999 will have their right to dissent protected and respected can only be treated with suspicion and contempt", said spokesperson Leigh Cookson.
Harassment of APEC opponents has already begun with SIS and Police Threat Assessment Unit officers visiting the homes and workplaces of people from migrant communities. There is real concern that the presence of officials and leaders of the 21 APEC nations in New Zealand will be used by the National government as an excuse to harass and spy on the opponents of its free market economic ideology. "If as this judgement seems to suggest Jenny Shipley and the SIS are totally unaccountable to Parliament, the judiciary and the New Zealand public then we should be afraid, be very afraid" said Leigh Cookson.
Contact: Leigh Cookson (APEC Monitoring Group) 03 366 2803
Link to the main page on the SIS and spies.
Link to main page on APEC and globalisation.
Link to further information on SIS legislation.