A while back, the respected political expert Bryce Edwards wrote a piece in the Herald under the title: “Democracy under attack, again”. It was written amidst the controversy surrounding the law reforms to allow spying on people like you and me. And he’s not been a lone voice in this.

Many other high-profile, well-respected experts such as Dame Anne Salmond, former PM Sir Geoffrey Palmer and the Law Commission have come forward to express their concerns that the relationship between the John Key government and the people of New Zealand has broken down.

From spying on Kim Dotcom and defence journalist John Stephenson to accessing Andrea Vance’s emails and phone records, we have seen a blatant disregard for both the rule of law and our privacy. And if John Key doesn’t like the law, then he changes it with the help of his tiny majority.

This was true of the introduction of the Anadarko Amendment – a law to ban aspects of protesting at sea. It was a law cooked up between government and oil industry in dodgy, behind-closed-doors meetings to make it a criminal offence to protect the oceans you fish or swim in. 

But now it seems that this is not enough for the oil industry.

Not only do they want you locked up for trying to stop pollution, they want to take away your right to have a say in what they do. That’s right, with the new changes being proposed by the Environment Minister Amy Adams, she wants to gag you from objecting to dangerous deep water drilling off your beach. The reason: to avoid any unnecessary costs to the largest and wealthiest companies on the planet. That’s right you will no longer be able to speak up for the future of your community so as to help safeguard the profits of overseas oil executives.

We know that we don’t need to sell our laws to big business to get by in the world: we know we don’t need hand outs from high stakes gamblers to get rich; and we know that we need to have more trust in each other to build a smarter, cleaner and fairer future for us all.

The Government is asking for public submissions (See page 25.)