Last weekend Greenpeace undertook some demonstration at sea in maritime waters north of NZ. The offshore seismic work was performed by Petrobras, the Brazilian national oil company. Such actions are illegal under common (maritime) and NZ statutory law, as well as UN conventions. Despite these laws, Greenpeace was able to sabotage disrupt exploration activity for a few days until the police was asked to interview by the Minister.
In the House, the leader of the ACT Party (part of the National Party coalition) asked the Minister of Police in the National Party why NZ Police had not enforced the law. Her answer was that the NZ Police has the discretion to charge Greenpeace or take into custody the persons obstructing the oil exploration vessel, but clearly had decided not to. This raises several questions:
1. Whether there is a need for the police to get involved at all. Clearly there is the opportunity for the explorer to call in the police. There is also the opportunity for Petrobras and its contracting body to prosecute Greenpeace under Common Law.
2. Under Common Law Greenpeace could also explore the legitimacy of the Seabed Resource Act, which assumes that the government ought to have control over such lands, and regulates the way in which such resources are administered.
What this display in parliament shows is:
1. How arbitrary the law is - both in enactment as well as enforcement
2. Rodney Hide is not an agent for law and order but punitive action against 'arbitrary' law breakers.
I don't dispel the possibility that Greenpeace could be conceived as engaging in an educational role by raising awareness of oil drilling in maritime areas of NZ. I do however this this oil exploration is in the best interests of NZ. An oil discovery would greatly transform the fortunes of NZ, a country which is an economic laggard with low wages by OECD standards. There are important issues however of resource ownership to raise, and Common Law is the appropriate 'logical' framework for discussing the issue. Statutory law is merely some extortion racket whereby some political party professes to be acting under some sanction of 'righteousness' or a 'mandate' which has no logical standing. No more standing than Hitler's democratic majority. Democracy is a rort, even if a sanctioned one. It ought to be abolished and the efficacy of Common Law restored.
People are protesting at sea because democracy sanctions the idea that 'might makes right'. Yes, democracy sanctions extortion. The implication is that Greenpeace is merely engaging in the same extortive practices as the government. The difference is that hundreds of years ago some monarch (i.e. autocrat) decided that statutory law developed by our parliaments had primacy over 'logical' common law. I would argue that there is no sound justification for this demotion of common law. That is not to say that common law cannot be improved...merely that it is a sounder basis for justice than extortion - whether by the public or private sector.