New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau facility in Waihopai. (CC) Schutz

The Government’s new spy bill looks set to pass with the slimmest of majorities now that Peter Dunne has given his blessing. That’s right - the former Minister who objected so vigorously to having his emails read by a government inquiry has now backed plans to allow our spy agencies to spy on us all. With just a few words, “When you have a willing buyer and a willing seller you can always do a deal”, Peter Dunne gave up your right to privacy.

National security should always be a priority of Government. It has a duty to protect us from harm where the threat exists. But it also has a duty to uphold democracy and to be fair. With this new law, John Key has just broken that social contract he signed when he agreed to serve in the interests of all of us.

This new spying law has been roundly condemned by the Human Rights Commission, the Privacy Commission, the Law Society and Internet New Zealand and many others because it is a poor, over the top law which will lead to a gross abuse to individual privacy and excessive surveillance. It’s what happens in Russia and North Korea. Iit should not happen here in New Zealand.

Over a very short space of time we have seen dramatic changes to our environmental safeguards and our right to protest and voice opposition - most recently with the Anadarko Amendment and Simon Bridges’ and Steven Joyce doing back room deals with foreign oil companies.

This means people like you and me and organisations such as the Environmental Defense Society, WWF or Forest and Bird and Greenpeace who may disagree with some forms of economic activity such as deep sea oil exploration and stand up to say so, are fair game to our intelligence services.

One of the biggest concerns is that this is happening with not enough kiwis raising an eyebrow and that many of us will wake up one day and wonder how the hell we allowed it all to happen.

This is contrary to a free and open society. Even the usually reserved NZ Law Society has spoken out strongly saying the bill is intrusive, lacks clear justification for the extraordinary extension of powers of the GCSB and is inconsistent with the rights to freedom of expression and freedom from unreasonable search or seizure under New Zealand law.

This week there are several opportunities to stand up in the company of like minded on this issue.

There is a public meeting in Auckland’s Mt Albert hall this Thursday July 25th with some great speakers and nationwide protests on Saturday July 27 with rallies in: