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Follow Up to "Major Events Management Act" Post

After my last post my dad, sister and I all wrote to our representatives asking for clarification on the “Major Events Management Act 2007”. To my delight both my dad's representative (Colin King) and my sisters representative (Marion Hobbs) wrote back within a few days. Unfortunately my representative (Annette King) never replied.

While I'm very pleased that Mr. King and Ms. Hobbs took the time to reply, I'm not very comfortable with the content of their replies. I'd like to post their replies directly but I'm not sure how reasonable it is to post private communication with a public official. In my opinion the gist of their responses boils down to:

  • Hosting the Rugby World Cup will earn New Zealand a lot of money.
  • In order to host the World Cup passing legislation is required.
  • Making money is more important than civil liberties so we have to pass the legislation.
  • The legislation sounds tougher then it is, nothing bad will actually happen.

I'm not surprised at their response, I'm sure there's a lot of pressure on them to facilitate events which bring revenue to New Zealand. I am however, concerned that as a country we are prepared to trade our civil liberties (even in theory) for cash.

On a more positive note, Mr. King took the time to locate and forward a report from the Commerce Committee, which includes a full copy of the bill, and shows that the issues were considered and some sensible recommendations were made. Below are some quotes from the report:

Protection of expressions of personal opinion

We recommend clarifying that the definition of ‘‘advertise’’ in clause 4 excludes communications of personal opinion made by a natural person for no commercial gain. In our opinion, the definition as drafted is too broad.



Exception for reporting of news, criticism, or review in the media

In the bill as introduced clause 11(1)(d)(v) provides exceptions to clauses 9 and 10 for the reporting of news, criticism, and reviews.

We recommend that the exception in clause 11(1)(d)(v) be expanded to cover the reporting of ‘‘information’’. In our opinion, this change would clarify that the exception would apply to publications that might not be news, criticism, or review but included information, such as major event schedules and information about participants.

We recommend that the words ‘‘by a person who ordinarily engages in the business of such reporting’’ be deleted from clause 11(1)(d)(v), because the exception should apply equally to a newly employed reporter with no previous reporting experience.



Powers of enforcement officers

We recommend inserting clause 65(1A) to limit the scope of the power provided in clause 65(1) for a person named in a search warrant to search a place, vehicle, or thing. Under this new clause, that power must not be exercised by an enforcement officer unless the enforcement officer is accompanied by a member of the police when exercising the power. We believe that clause 65(1) as drafted could give enforcement officers, who might be civilians, too much power.



Declaration of major event

Some submitters were concerned about the strict criteria for declaring an event to be a major event (clause 6). They argued that the bill should apply not only to internationally significant events, but also other important events that are unlikely to meet the criteria, such as the Big Day Out and the Bledisloe Cup.

As the protections provided for in this bill would restrict freedom of speech and business activity, we believe that the threshold for declaring an event to be a major event should be high. We do not recommend any change to the definition of major event.

After reading all of this, I'm still disappointed about the bill and disagree with the reasons why it was considered necessary.

Major Events Management Act 2007

Find your own representative and send them a letter:

Dear Ms King,

I have lived in Wellington's Eastern suburbs for that last five years. I am writing to you about new legislation titled the “Major Events Management Act 2007” which I have just read about in a stuff.co.nz article:

<http://www.stuff.co.nz/4404868a11.html>

I am very concerned that the government has passed legislation which can impose civil and criminal penalties on private citizens for impinging on commercial interests.

I understand that there must be a lot of complexity around the hosting of major events like the World Cup. Regardless, I cannot fathom why my government would remove the personal rights of it's citizens to protect the ability of large corporations to make the largest profit possible.

I am stunned and in disbelief, I had trusted that my government held it's citizens rights in higher regard then corporate profits.

Sincerely,

Adam Shand

Seatoun

Update (5 Apr 2008): I've posted some additional information including a full copy of the bill here.

Eva Zeisel: The Playful Search for Beauty

This is a difficult TED talk to listen too, Eva rambles quite a lot and doesn't get enough time to actually come to her point. However I loved the idea of novelty being a concept of commerce rather then one of aesthetics. I've transcribed the relevant section of the talk below, but it's still quite rambling and difficult:

I call myself a maker of things. I don't call myself an industrial designer, because among other things industrial designers want to make novel things. Novelty is a concept of commerce, not an aesthetic concept. The industrial design magazine I believe is called “Innovation”. Innovation is not part of the aim of my work. Well, makers of things, we make things more beautiful, more elegant, more comfortable than just a craftsman do. I have so much to say I have to think about what I am going to say. Well to describe our profession otherwise we are actually concerned with the playful search for beauty. That means the playful search for beauty was called the first activity of man. […] who was a mathematic professor at MIT wrote that “the playful search for beauty was mans first activity. That all useful qualities and all material qualities were developed from the playful search for beauty”. These are times. The word playful is a necessary aspect of our work. Because actually one of our problems is that we have to make lovely things throughout all of life, and this for me is now 75 years. So how can you, without drying up, make things with the same pleasure as a gift to others … for so long. The word playful is therefor an important part of our quality as a designer.

Lunch With Bill Loughborough

I met Bill Loughborough today. He drove into Portland and bought me lunch to encourage me (and all of us) to “keep on keeping on” because he thinks that the community wireless networking movement is vital and needs to be kept alive. He had a lot of interesting things to say about the semantic web and how it applies to accessibility and disabled people. He talked a bunch about the history of computing and the trends he sees, and has seen. A few things that stuck with me:

  • When I get frustrated with people over Personal Telco it's because there are two distinctly different visions from the members of Personal Telco. One is for a (possibly) zero-cost pervasive wireless network. One is for a free/open/public, community owned, pervasive wireless network. It's the “free/open/public and community owned” that motivates me.

    When I get into fights with people (over whether Open Source is important or the value of the adhocracy) it's because they see the decisions I make as being detrimental to the quick accomplishment of the first goal, they don't understand that what they propose detracts from what I see as the point of the whole deal. If all I wanted was a wireless network I'd just buy a GPRS phone or wait for T-Mobile/Boingo/Cometa. I don't want a monetized network, I want a community owned network. I want to build systems and practices which encourage everyone to participate in the free/open/public networks.
  • Cory Doctorow is right, the future wireless network is here, now. It's the Linksys Community network. If we keep at it, evangelising, educating and encouraging participation from all quarters, the pervasive network will arrive. We just have to make sure that people don't give up, the technology will link them all together eventually.
  • Bill said that the world is getting kinder and more compassionate. When I pointed out and said that “the world certainly seems to have been making all the wrong decisions over the last ten years”, he just laughed. He said all is in order, it's just that “we” are growing/changing/learning faster then the then rest of the world, but the rest of the world is still changing for the better. I hope I can believe that, my distopian paranoia gets me down sometimes. :-)
  • He talked about a company he worked for that was trying to make (the first?) chording keyboard. He mentioned that once you have a device which you “chord” data into, that you can also use it to read by having it raise the keys in the same patters. Reading with your fingers, this seems like a great way to escape from having to have a screen to get data out. He also said that learning to chord was hard work, but that once you knew how to do that, reading was basically a gimme.

    I imagine a small one handed chording device with data and CPU built in that sits on my belt. Inside it is a RDF repository of all my personal data with a query interface. Quietly and unobtrusively I can put my hand down and ask it a question (What is Gene's address?) and have the answer read back to me silently without interrupting a conversation or having avert my eyes from the road.

“We can't create a culture of freedom and innovation, but we can build a network which fosters its growth.” — The Wireless Commons

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2014 by adam shand. sharing is an act of love, please share.