Update: The home of Heather du Plessis has now been raided too after she exposed the fact that it was really easy to buy arms online!
This is an excellent piece by Giovanni Tiso from Bat, Bean, Beam blog, about the raid on Nicky Hager’s house and the impact this invasive illegal raid has had on his life and that of his loved ones. It is terrifying that this could happen in a country like New Zealand and indicative of the dive New Zealand has made towards the level of a police state. We have become a country where it’s citizenry has to fear the knock on the door if they try to write about what politicians are up too behind closed doors!
Five police officers arrived at the journalist’s house at 7.45 on a Thursday morning. The journalist was in another city that day but they knocked anyway. His daughter was home, and opened the door in her night-gown, thinking it was probably a courier and she would be able to despatch things quickly. It wasn’t. The officers informed her that they had a warrant to search the house. She told them her father was away. They told her they were going to go ahead anyway. We know from court documents that, had nobody been home, they would have forced their way inside.
|Not the actual house|
I’m going to ask you to forget that the journalist was Nicky Hager. Well, kind of. You need to bear in mind some facts that are specific to this case: for instance, that the crime the Police was investigating with such an investment of manpower and force was relatively minor, but had great media visibility and political reverberations; or that the search came twelve days after the general election that returned the National Party to power; or that Hager wasn’t a suspect, but merely a witness, and that his daughter wasn’t even a witness and had no role in the investigation whatsoever.
All of these things are worth keeping in mind, for they are what makes this case extraordinary. They are reasons that moved me to argue before that the eventual decision by the High Court concerning the legality of the search will have significant implications for our democracy. But we must remind ourselves of the extent in which this case was also quite ordinary. That is to say, of the fact that the Police acted the way they did because that it is natural to them; because this is how executive power works, and because – like at Ruatoki in 2007 – it comes with very little cost or likelihood of checks.