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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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How about a 3-strikes law for government?

12 September 2018

The contentious "three strikes" legislation has been apparently very successful overseas in places like New York.

The basic premise is that people get three chances before they're considered unworthy of further trust by society and thus handed out a very, very stiff prison sentence which may be wildly out of proportion to the trifecta of crimes they have committed.

Potential offenders who are just one burglary or robbery away from a near-life term of imprisonment apparently think twice before taking the risk.

Something similar was tried here -- but for whatever reason (it was probably far too watered-down) it didn't seem to work too well.

But I'd like to see a "three strikes" law bought in to control blatant victimisation and "unlawful" actions by any government of the day.

What has prompted this call on my part? Read on and find out.

Hands up everyone who remembers Kim Dotcom...

Okay, we all know Kim. He's the (once) uber-rich guy who (let's be honest) bought his NZ residency by throwing huge amounts of cash at us, by request of the government of the day.

Kim was the celebrity de jour a few years back and politicians fell over themselves to be seen in his company, scoff a meal at his palatial Coatesville mansion and to curry his favour (and donations).

This all came to a grinding halt however, when US authorities decided it was time to call in a few favours from politicians and highly-ranked civil servants.

Kim Dotcom was spied on by the GCSB (an action that was later found by the courts to be "unlawful") - STRIKE ONE!

An armed raid on his mansion, which saw a huge amount of his wealth and assets seized by NZ authorities and handed over to the FBI was also later ruled to be "unlawful" -- STRIKE TWO!

And then, Kim's requests under the Privacy Act for copies of all information held on him by government departments was denied. This was later deemed to be a breach of his human rights by The Human Rights Review Tribunal and they awarded him $180K in compensation -- STRIKE THREE!

Dotcom is now in the High Court, where the crown is appealing that decision (at further cost to taxpayers I might add).

I'm sorry... but at some stage, even the most disinterested people must ask "what the hell is going on here?"

Why are we allowing the government (through its appointed agencies) to continue to harass this man and repeatedly violate the laws which have been put in place to protect him, and others like him?

Just what is the point in having laws to protect us from the state -- if the state firstly ignores them and then, when scolded by the courts, simply moves to change the laws which were broken so as to retrospectively make their actions legal -- and then go ahead and violate his human rights as they continue their ill-managed vendetta?

Just where *IS* our protection?

Only an insane person would consider the crown's position in the matter of Kim Dotcom to be a sensible, objective and unbiased one. It is clear that strings have been (and continue to be) pulled by US puppet-masters and that the crown prosecution is probably also working with a nose that is severely out of joint due to the lambasting it's had from the courts. Any hope of justice has long-gone and now the crown seems to have embarked on a nasty personal vendetta whilst further serving their US overlords.

So why are the vast majority of Kiwis okay with this?

Perhaps because it's not them who is the victim this time?

Or is it just that, deep down inside, we know that if we poke our own heads up above the parapets, we also risk being similarly abused, with scant protection from the law.

Now I'm no fan of Kim Dotcom but I am a fan of justice and mechanisms that protect the people of the country from the excesses of governments and their agencies. Clearly, we have lost that protection and Kim Dotcom is the undeniable evidence.

Outrageous, is it not?

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