The GCSB bill has been passed into law after Prime Minister John Key told parliament it was vital to New Zealand’s national security. The legislation, arguably the most contentious since National came to power, gives the Government Communications Security Bureau authority to spy on New Zealanders on behalf of the police and the Security Intelligence Service. It passed its third reading on Wednesday 21st August 2013 by 61 votes to 59 against fierce opposition from Labour, the Greens and NZ First. (We won’t say anymore on this matter as Big Brother is watching us)
Many Bell Block couples will be able to change the phrase “I can’t” to “I do” from Today Monday 19th August 2013 when the same-sex marriage law comes into force. Births, Deaths and Marriages has been advised of 31 couples who plan to get hitched on day one of the new laws, but the actual number is likely to be higher as those figures only include the country’s main centres. The same-sex marriage laws passed through parliament on April 17th 2013 by 77 votes to 44. No marriage celebrant can be forced to perform same-sex marriages under the new legislation, and many churches have already ruled out allowing their officials to do so. The new definition of marriage is “the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity”. Not everyone’s happy about the law changes though, with Family First NZ labelling the move to legalise same-sex marriage as an “arrogant act of cultural vandalism”.
Bell Blocks MP Jonathan Young welcomed the enactment this week of the Psychoactive Substances Bill. A range of effective prohibitions and penalties for breaches of the new law come into immediate effect. These include:
No sales from dairies or any sort of grocery store, petrol stations, or anywhere alcohol is sold;
No sales to under 18 year olds;
No advertising, except at the point of sale;
Strict labelling requirements.
“After more than two years of considerable hard work, New Zealand finally has a tool with which to address the scourge of unregulated psychoactive substances,” Those that flout this ban face prosecution and substantial penalties of up to $10,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a body corporate. “To those under 18 thinking of using these products, or those contemplating supplying them, take my advice, it’s just not worth it. The Act also puts an end to the cat and mouse situation that had developed with the temporary class drug regime, with drugs currently subject to temporary class drug notices made under the Misuse of Drugs Act continuing to be prohibited from sale. For those wanting further information about drugs:
http://www.alcoholdrughelp.org.nz or Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797