New Zealand government sneaks in anti-piracy law [Update]

With the recent large earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand, the country has been in a "state of emergency" for a prolonged period of time. Part of the powers the government receives while in this state, is to rush legislation through government, without public consultation to help with whatever emergency is faced.

Today, it was uncovered that the New Zealand government is "rushing" a version of the legislation that was widely rejected last year, labelled "Section 92A." Under the bill, copyright owners could complain directly to ISP's about users "sharing files" and would be punished accordingly. For the first offence, the user would receive a written warning to destroy the data, and explaining what would happen if they were caught again. For a second offence, a user would be blocked from any internet access for 6 months. For a third and final offence, the user would be blacklisted from receiving internet in New Zealand again.

It appears that the government is taking advantage of the disaster to push through a version of the legislation that sees repeat offenders disconnected for six months at a time, Stuff.co.nz reports. Full information about the bill can be found here. If rushed through parliament, the law could be brought into effect very quickly, and would not have to go through the public consultation step that it failed on last year.

The government is definately trying to sneak this one through, with Green MP Gareth Hughes stating that ''It really surprised [him] because we haven't debated it since November," and that he opposed to any restriction of access to the web.

Update: The New Zealand government has pushed through the bill, with those voting for the bill with 111 vs 11 votes. Twitter has exploded with outrage, under the hashtag #blackout - a term used back in 2009 when the controversial law was attempted for the first time. Questions surrounding the government's understanding of the bill remain, with one MP comparing the internet and piracy to "skynet."

The bill passed within 24 hours, with parliament adjourning last night at midnight until 9am this morning, where it was voted on and accepted by 9:10am. Nick Smith, MP for Nelson, NZ, confirmed that email was included in the definition of file sharing but you cannot control who you download email from, so breaking this law is as easy as receiving an email with mp3 attachments.

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32 Comments

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Wonder how much the relevant companies paid the NZ government to roll over.
A proper government is meant to be for the people NOT big money grabbin companies.
The NZ government used to be for the people. NOT anymore it seems.

To Owen Williams,

Your comment about the emergency powers allowing the NZ government to force legislation through the Parliament is TOTALLY INCORRECT. The use of urgency procedures in Parliament has nothing to with the emergency powers in the earthquake which is a separate issue altogether.

What a big mistake. Everyone in the country is just going to get kicked off the internet and ISPs are going to lose business.

IANAL, but looking at the bill (linked on the Stuff article), it requires a court order and the 6 months is 'up to', taking into account "suspension of the account holder's account is justified and appropriate in the circumstances, given the seriousness of the infringing". Illegal file sharing is, well, illegal and needs punishment, I think the idea is similar to how you may get your drivers' license revoked after many serious offences. I do think that should be after many offences, rather than just a few though; it's not like file sharing endangers lives. I also take issue with section 92A being 'repealed' and basically rewritten as section 122 - at least it is more moderate. There is some interesting discussion going on about how some content is no longer available for purchase in any legal way (particularly in New Zealand as we have no real online streaming services like Hulu or Netflix).

Still, this is all beside the point - it is disgusting to be trying to ram through an unrelated bill with no new consultation under urgency due to an emergency.

Antcodd said,
I think the idea is similar to how you may get your drivers' license revoked after many serious offences.

It is not quite the same, it is not analog to a simple revoked license, instead it is more similar to they can confiscate your car and ban you (and your family) to purchase any car during the restriction period.

wow... government is clearly not there for the consumer.
Wait until they are all down and start the barrels blazing!

Guys, some of you are missing the point here and debating other political points.
Simple facts here. Parliament is sitting under urgency to resolve and pass laws required to allow the effective rebuild of Christchurch after the earthquake.
It has been decided by the party in power to slip this into the line of acts to be voted on tonight.
This act is unpopular, has been massively rejected by the public and ISP's and was removed from the table last year when it proved so unpopular.
The opportunity is being taken to use the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery legislation to act as a screen to hide its passing.

Thats not right of the government. I mean state of emergency gives them power to rush legislations the assist with the disaster... Not to be used to sneak a bill which people opposed and go behind NZer's because they want it.

Nashy said,
The NZ Government has far more to worry about than this. Like... the fact the country has no money.

And a public that refuses to acknowledge that. Since we insist on things like a benefit that is better than finding a job while funding degrees for people who are going to high tail overseas as they can earn twice as much. Then we spend 2 million on a "plastic Waka", 3.4 million on a Maori advisory board while we rage and heckle at MPs who spend like 500 dollar of taxpayers money, who pay them back promptly and then waste resources investigating them. Then there is bailouts and what not.


Now that the government is saying we slash spending, people go enraged. Sometimes NZers think money grow on trees and hefty payouts are entitled, not earned. Wished Don Brash won 2 elections ago, shifting from Labour to National didn't turn us any right, John Key is way too much of a populist. At least Brash have a stronger agenda and direction, and don't care it may not be too popular.

Nashy said,
The NZ Government has far more to worry about than this. Like... the fact the country has no money.

The more important thing is that they are low on money and are waiting for big labels to pay for this law. Corruption everywhere.

Article is really painting worse than it is, they aren't taking advantage of Christchurch by using anything under the state of emergency, but they are sneaking it in but is no different than saying they sneak it in while O'Connor is complaining gaggles of gays and unionists. And the fact is, public consultation never really works much here anyway, just look at anti-smacking law. I won't take anything Gareth Hughes says seriously either, same too for Keith Locke, they exaggerate things 10 folds to discredit a government or large companies. Especially Locke, he had the nerve to complain when he pretty much barged into the entourage of China's VP amongst other silly things.

I find it eternally ironic Greens are complaining about "rights" when they are too busy telling us how to raise kids and move around. Voting for NZ first on the other hand is voting for the 60s and racism. As an Asian, I rather vote the Maori party over NZ First. Labour is self destructing. Act have no credibility with Hide. Greens are stupid until they actually go back to being "Green", as opposed to social control. And National is too busy appeasing everyone to do anything and generally inadequate.


I really don't know where my vote is going to go this November. Bill and Ben Party looks less of a joke every coming day, quite a feat mind you. There is always United Future and their love for fracturing departments. New Zealand politics is so fun to talk about.

Eddo89 said,
Article is really painting worse than it is, they aren't taking advantage of Christchurch by using anything under the state of emergency, but they are sneaking it in but is no different than saying they sneak it in while O'Connor is complaining gaggles of gays and unionists. And the fact is, public consultation never really works much here anyway, just look at anti-smacking law. I won't take anything Gareth Hughes says seriously either, same too for Keith Locke, they exaggerate things 10 folds to discredit a government or large companies. Especially Locke, he had the nerve to complain when he pretty much barged into the entourage of China's VP amongst other silly things.

I find it eternally ironic Greens are complaining about "rights" when they are too busy telling us how to raise kids and move around. Voting for NZ first on the other hand is voting for the 60s and racism. As an Asian, I rather vote the Maori party over NZ First. Labour is self destructing. Act have no credibility with Hide. Greens are stupid until they actually go back to being "Green", as opposed to social control. And National is too busy appeasing everyone to do anything and generally inadequate.


I really don't know where my vote is going to go this November. Bill and Ben Party looks less of a joke every coming day, quite a feat mind you. There is always United Future and their love for fracturing departments. New Zealand politics is so fun to talk about.


It is worse than you're making it out to be. Hundreds died in Christchurch, and I don't want the Government to be pinning this on friends or families that have died.

Sure, sure go ahead, you wont be long in power if you decide to go ahead with this, who will vote for you again, You politicans arent too smart.

birdie-87 said,
Sure, sure go ahead, you wont be long in power if you decide to go ahead with this, who will vote for you again, You politicans arent too smart.

As long as they get their ca$h from the NZ equivalent of the RIAA/MPAA they won't care...