In the wake of New Zealand’s announced gun ban I’ve seen a lot of pro-gun people stating that this is the beginning of tyranny in New Zealand. However, tyranny in New Zealand isn’t beginning, it’s already well established. Yesterday I posted not just about the new gun ban but about New Zealand’s law that grants the government permission to lock somebody up for up to 14 years for publishing objectionable material. It shouldn’t surprise anybody that the government not only gets to jail people for posting objectionable material but it also gets to define what is objectionable.
None of this is new either. There is a long tradition of censorship in New Zealand, including filtering Internet traffic. As an amusing aside, New Zealand’s Internet filtering came almost immediately after its government promised not to implement Internet filtering:
In March 2009, the Minister for Communications and IT, Steven Joyce, stated that the government had been following the controversy surrounding Internet censorship in Australia, and had no plans to introduce something similar in New Zealand. He acknowledged that filtering can cause delays for all Internet users, and that those who are determined to get around any filter will find a way to do so. Later in July of the same year, it was reported that the Department of Internal Affairs had plans to introduce Internet filtering in New Zealand. The project, using Swedish software, cost $150,000. February 2010 saw the first meeting of the Independent Reference Group, who are tasked with overseeing the responsible implementation of the DCEFS. In March 2010, a year after Joyce stated that there were no plans to do so, the Department of Internal Affairs stated that the filter was operational and in use. Tech Liberty NZ objected to the launch of the filter, but DIA defended the system and noted that trials over two years showed that the filter did not affect the speed or stability of the internet.
Free speech, which is usually considered a cornerstone of a free society, hasn’t existed in New Zealand for a very long time. Banning firearms is just another step in the direction New Zealand has been traveling for a long time now.