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New Zealand Police Act Wiki Lets You Write the Law 255

PhoenixOr writes "New Zealand is now on the top of my list for cool governments. They've opened a wiki allowing the populace to craft a new version of their Police Act, the legislative basis for policing in New Zealand."
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New Zealand Police Act Wiki Lets You Write the Law

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  • by Strange Ranger ( 454494 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:22AM (#20764717)
    Film at 11.

    Cool government indeed.
    • Re:kiwis use wikis (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tuoqui ( 1091447 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:28AM (#20764761) Journal
      Now if only this would catch on... we might actually see laws that are representative of what the people want instead of some asshole with a few hundred thousand dollars more than they should have in their pocket.
      • Re:kiwis use wikis (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Virtual_Raider ( 52165 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:31AM (#20765123)

        I don't think we would see to many of those laws. The final draft will be reviewed by a relevant body before submitting it for approval. Not doing so would be insane, as all manner of abuse could find their way into the law otherwise. The thing is, it will be reviewed by those same people that we are supposing take "financial aids" from interest groups. So they will just snip out whatever doesn't suit their agendas.

        I know this is a police law, but think of the possibilities in other areas. What if I want to expand the definition of Fair Use? Or if I want to shorten copyright duration? Do you see those amends surviving even on the face of overwhelming public support on the wiki? On top of lobbyists there would be astroturfers for one thing. And let's not forget that usually the only people that are vocal about something are those with a vested interest. I wouldn't want the nosy bastards from some retarded Home-Owners association slipping in some ordinances that would, for example, prevent me from installing a solar array on my backyard because it "ruins the aesthetics of the neighborhood" or such. Particularly if I don't even live on their area but get covered by this laws.

        I think is a good publicity stunt and it may even generate some novel ideas, but I just don't see it suddenly making sense of the legal landscape in any meaningful way. I'd much rather they put the existing laws in a database with strong referential integrity. That would be interesting.

        Just some ramble =)

      • And that's why it won't fly. I mean, could you explain to me the business model?

        1. Refuse big bucks from companies to make laws for them.
        2. ???
        3. Profit for politicians.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Now if only this would catch on... we might actually see laws that are representative of what the people want

        At least, those who have and know how to use an internet connection, so you get a bias there. From what I've seen, there's far too much libertarianism to get a balanced and democratic decisions (no offense intended to libertarians out there).

        And the process seems nevertheless a little too democratic, if you know what I mean. Would the people be able to know the ins and outs of creating a law? Would t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Yes, but what if what someone wants is to steal your property?

        Given the track record of open Wikis to trend towards vandalism, I'm interested in what policies they are going to put into place to stop stupidity.
      • we might actually see laws that are representative of what the people want instead of some asshole with a few hundred thousand dollars
        You might be onto something there. But I think it needs a snappier, soundbitey phrase. I'll throw in "Government of the people, by the people, for the people" just to get the ball rolling.
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:24AM (#20764733) Homepage Journal
    This was a science fiction story in which anyone could create a law. The visitor from Earth created a law saying that only qualified people could create new laws, arguing that otherwise someone might create a stupid one. The native said "Someone just did, in fact". The revert happened almost immediately, and the visitor was advised not to start a revert war: the reverter was described as "very good with the ritual sword".
  • by speaker of the truth ( 1112181 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:25AM (#20764737)
    I submit that the Title [] isn't notable enough with this google search [] only revealing one relevant link. As such I propose we delete this page.
  • nice! (Score:5, Funny)

    by i_b_don ( 1049110 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:34AM (#20764785)
    Hm... so this means that young male techno-savy people are going to write the laws now? What do you think they will be?

    1. Piracy is legal for any copyright that is represented by the RIAA or MPAA
    2. Cute girls can't wear shirts
    3. The new legal drinking age is 13
    4. People over 50 aren't allowed to vote


  • Excellent (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skeftomai ( 1057866 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:35AM (#20764793)
    I think having the community develop laws together is a rather superb way of handling society. The more people, (generally) the better (IMO). The more people that have their hand in this, the less likely something will be left out. Also, since everyone in that society will have to live with those laws, I think it's best that the majority has the opportunity to shape those laws (granted, not everyone will likely use this wiki, but I think the concept is good).

    Doing it this way, the way I see it, has the potential to mend gaps between people groups in a society by allowing them to discuss their ideas and explain and collaborate their ideas carefully.

    I wish more governments could be run this way -- moreso by the people.

    And having this online provides an excellent communication medium.
    • You've obviously never seen myspace
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jonbritton ( 950482 )
      And having this online provides an excellent communication medium.

      And limited to middle-class folks with computers and Internet connections..

      I'm sure NZ's Maori population is offering a collective sound that translates roughly to, "whoop-dee-fucking-doo."
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by kiwipeso ( 467618 )
        I don't know about ruling out Maori people from the net. Let's face it, it's usually $2 for half an hour at a net cafe.
        Hell, even a really bad busker can make that in ten minutes on courtney place. (Less time in Auckland)
        Besides, it's not exclusively online. Just free online, otherwise you can buy a hard copy of the proposal and make a submission by freepost.
  • Not so cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by speaker of the truth ( 1112181 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:36AM (#20764795)
    While on the one hand getting feedback in this manner is good, satirizing them is also important. [] So its one step back one step forward for the New Zealand government.
  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:36AM (#20764797) Homepage
    Why do i get the impression that the new Police Act will consist mainly of LOLcats?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Titoxd ( 1116095 )
      No, it will probably be something more along the lines of "Eric is a fag and his face is punishable by law." ~~~~
  • by gihan_ripper ( 785510 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:46AM (#20764849) Homepage
    From the wiki (emphasis mine):

    An official Bill is currently being written-up by parliamentary drafters, but in parallel there's an opportunity for others to suggest how a new Policing Act might look by contributing to a wiki Act.
    OK, it's unrealistic to believe that New Zealand would let anyone write the law. That would lead to anarchy. However, what they're doing is trying to get people interested in the law-making process, and in the laws themselves by opening up this wiki. I can see a number of purposes this could serve:
    1. Educational: teaches citizens about laws and law-making.
    2. Political: by getting citizens involved in the process, they're more likely to support the new Act.
    3. Police PR: gets citizens to think about policing in a new way and perhaps gain a new respect for the Police.
    • by bug1 ( 96678 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @04:59AM (#20765501)
      "OK, it's unrealistic to believe that New Zealand would let anyone write the law. That would lead to anarchy."

      Quite the opposite.

      Anarchy is the absense in laws, so letting anyone write laws would move New Zealand further away from anarchy.

      Allowing anyone to repeal laws might lead to anarchy.
    • > OK, it's unrealistic to believe that New Zealand would let anyone write the law. That would lead to anarchy.

      You've been reading too much government propaganda.

      "Anarchy" is a bogeyman that governments trot out whenever there's a danger that citizens want to control their politicians and make them servants of the people, which of course would never do.

      It ranks alongside "Who will think of the children?", manufactured wars, and dozens of other diversionary tactics that they use.

      Be wise to manufactured bog
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This word is not a flashcard for any political situation you dislike. The fact that you are writing law means that the situation, by definition cannot be anarchic, and I think you know that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:48AM (#20764861)
    Police officers may not shoot people at random [citation needed]
    • A full account [] of what happened.

      Unfortunately they withdrew the Tazers [] last month leaving the police with no alternative to using a pistol.

      • First. Tasers were not "withdrawn", the trial period ended and the results of said period are now being examined to determine if they should become a permanant fixture.

        Second. NZ Police are supposed to be an unarmed force (although I believe certain situations allow an officer to carry, they are fairly rare). One can only assume that the victim was directly threatening the life another officer and so the shooter had time to retrieve a firearm from the patrol car where it was secured.

        Third. This is all u
    • Universal declaration of human rights, article 3. []

      A recent attempt to add subsection "3.i That means you as well, Bush" was vetoed by one of the permanent members of the security council.

    • Traffic tickets may be given for speeds more than 15 mph above the norm [citation given].
  • The timing relating to certain [] issues [] is not good.
  • Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:59AM (#20764921)
    According to the New Zealand Police Act, the elephant population has tripled in New Zealand.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RuBLed ( 995686 )
      so that is where this came from:

      The New Zealand Mounted Police would receive epic mounts compared to the normal mounts used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [thotbot]
    • This might be true: If there are 0 elephants in New Zealand, tripling that would still result in 0 elephants in New Zealand.

  • WikiWar (Score:3, Funny)

    by Big Nothing ( 229456 ) <> on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:01AM (#20764931)
    This smells of WikiWar all the way from the other side of the globe:

    "Smoking marihuana is <s>illegal</s> <s>legal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>legal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>legal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>legal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>legal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>legal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>legal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>legal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>legal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>leghal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>legzzal</s> <s>illegal</s> <s>zzzZZZzzz</s> illegal!"

  • Peelian Principles (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:01AM (#20764935) Journal
    I think the Peelian Principles are still good and sound: []

    If only my country's police force would follow them.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:05AM (#20764965)
    As pointed out elsewhere, the people who would participate are too self-selecting. They would just be too small a segment of the U.S. population.

    On the other hand, there is something to be said for "participatory" government. The people who take the trouble to speak up are the ones who are heard.
    • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:20AM (#20765071)

      As pointed out elsewhere, the people who would participate are too self-selecting. They would just be too small a segment of the U.S. population.

      Well, yes. Citizens of New Zealand would be a very small segment of the US population.

      • Well, yes... but considering the context of my comment, that would mean New Zealand people getting involved in the politics of the U.S.

        While they might have a lot of interesting things to say, I don't think I would support giving them the vote.
    • by sqrt(2) ( 786011 )
      Right, it would never work in the USA. If only there was some [] way [] to get the word out [] before we started doing it. Maybe even provide a way for people to use the internet for free [] if they don't have access at home. Then there's the apathy, why the hell would people care about having a say in the laws they'll be required to obey?

      Way too impractical for the US. Democracy is better off left in the capable hands of our trustworthy and honorable representatives in Washington.
      • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:42AM (#20765175)
        Wikipedia has some VERY serious flaws. For example, it is too vulnerable to vandalism, even though that vandalism is often easily fixable... if anyone happens to notice it in a timely manner.

        There are other flaws as well. From my own participation, for example, I have found that often certain groups of people will "take over" a topic as "their own", and interfere with input from outside sources, however valid that input may be. In some ways this is analogous to problems we see today with "peer review" in scientific journals.

        Wikipedia would be a disastrous model for anything having to do with government. It relies too much on the "good nature" of contributors. As we see very often, some people simply don't have any. And that is double true when it comes to government.
    • by ricree ( 969643 )

      As pointed out elsewhere, the people who would participate are too self-selecting. They would just be too small a segment of the U.S. population.

      Which is, of course, a significant change from the current state of affairs. After all, we have such a broad range of people participating in the government today, and we'd hate to do anything to upset the balance.

      Seriously, though, the problem isn't that we'd get a narrow group of participants, because we already have a lot of that at the moment. At the ver

  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:23AM (#20765081) Homepage Journal
    I'm not from New Zealand, but I think with a name like "Police Act" that the law should roughly state: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    It's worth reading this rant [] on that popular joke slogan.
  • News Flash
    Last week all members of New Zealand Police force "on the beat" exclusively consisted of women, wearing erotic bras and thongs. It is believed this is related with the extreme democracy and an Internet phenomenon called the "Slashdot effect".

    And now for the weather with Kiri...
  • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <> on Thursday September 27, 2007 @04:02AM (#20765235) Homepage Journal

    Alternatively, it is proposed that all police forces throughout New Zealand be renamed "The New Zealand Yum-Yum Teddy Bear Strike Force Z"
  • What will the poor dears do? They have cigars to buy! Mercedes to pay for! Wars to organise.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @04:51AM (#20765473)
    It does work in cases where people don't care. Sounds silly, I know, but that's how it is. It will only work for laws people don't feel strongly about. Or laws that only one side (pro or con) feels strongly about and the rest doesn't care.

    Take the US and imagine a system like that. Now, take a law about subsidies for agriculture for example. Will it pass? Certainly. The farmers are the only ones who care about it. Do I care? No.

    Now take a law about capital punishment, gay marriage or abortion. Then grab popcorn and watch the editwars.
  • I think that where every 10/20 years the whole law book gets reviewed. Anything not entirely relevant gets removed so as to streamline the whole legal process. Most legal systems are full of laws that go back several hundred years and never get called on these days. If you don't see people herding sheep over london bridge its got nothing to do with the fact it's against the law, its just that there is no need to any more. Rather than the typical knee jerk reactions to some current event, a constantly ev
    • How about imposing a word or page limit on the total volume of law? If you want to add some complexity to a part of the legal system, you have to remove some elsewhere.
  • I think I have the draft here somewhere .... *rummage*.. ah, yes here it is. []

    The only drawback is every few hundred years you need a lot of bloodshed so
    people remember why it was started and what it means. It would help immensely
    if they would let kids know about this in school.
  • [] When the 400,000th edit to this page must be reverted, they'll see why this was a Bad Idea.
  • Australia (Score:3, Funny)

    by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @10:38AM (#20768483) Homepage Journal
    Isn't NZ part of Australia? What does your real government have to say?


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