Seriously? “We have to shit on your civil rights because WMD, but we can’t explain why”? Has New Zealand fallen through a time portal to 2003?
If the wheels are indeed falling off the Smile’n’Wavemobile, this has to be a sign.
But here’s my uninformed 2c, which may just make some sense to others like me who don’t use phrases like repressive state apparatus in everyday conversation:
Spying is represented in my brain by two things: James Bond (dapper, British spying) and Jason Bourne/Mission Impossible [and all the clones thereof] (slightly worrying definitely anti-democratic American spying).
And the thing is, you just can’t watch a lot of US-made espionage drama (or even cop shows, which inevitably do a CIA plotline somewhere in season 4 or 5) without having it very heavily engraved into your brain that The CIA Cannot Spy On US Citizens. Because they’re the elite Cold War-fighting scary men-in-black agency, and That’s The Rules.
The FBI, on the other hand, are extremely fashionable and hack into your bank accounts
for great justice to catch serial killers.
So when (she finally gets to the point) the Prime Minister talks about letting the GCSB spy on New Zealand citizens, my brain just says “hey, hang on, that’s against the rules! We have the SIS for snooping on our peeps, and the GCSB for snooping on those people, and that’s important!”
Digging a little deeper into this, the difference is a little creepy-patriotic: I basically expect our intelligence community to treat NZers with far more dignity and respect for human rights than scary Soviet double-agents, who should of course be detained without trial and locked in a room with Daniel Craig until they give up the reconstructed Nazi superweapon plans.
It kind of worries me that this is how my brain thinks about these topics, but it’s there nevertheless.
Oh, and obviously? You have to be incredibly suspicious of any agency (*cough*police*cough*) which consistently fucks around with the regulations on its behaviour and then gets bailed out by the Government. Seriously, when do beneficiaries get this treatment? “Oh, you’ve been claiming $5 more per week than you’re entitled to, we’ll just retrospectively bump the cap on that benefit up so you’ll be okay.” I think not.