Buy your own Get Out of Jail Free card for only $50
May 5, 2021
The website of an organisation called the Maori Ranger Security Division (opens new window) is currently selling ID cards that they claim can help you avoid being arrested by police, protect you from Child Services, make you exempt from fisheries quotas, and may even let you travel without a passport - and all for the low, low price of $50.
Despite the name, this group seems to have no official standing. They’re not connected to the Māori Wardens, and are not registered as a company or society in NZ. But maybe that’s the point - their claim is that they do not fall under the jurisdiction of the government of New Zealand, but instead have formed their own jurisdiction.
This appears to be a part of the Free Man of the Land, or Sovereign Citizen, movement, which is a fascinating phenomenon. The movement started in the US, and the general idea is that, though enacting a series of legal maneuvers, you can disconnect yourself from being a citizen of the country you live in - with the benefits of then not being subject to its laws, and not having to pay taxes.
In this case, the Maori Rangers have done most of the “hard work” for you. Their ID cards supposedly contain several pieces of legal wording that together give you freedom from government oppression. These include the initials “C.S.S.C.S.P.S.G.P.” next to an image of the old Flag of the United Tribes, followed by the phrase “Flag of this document contract postal vessel court venue”, the words “Sea Pass”, a claim that the card holder is a Diplomat and a passport photo with the words “Secured Party” under it.
From what I can tell, this is meant to convert you into being a maritime vessel, which helps to distance yourself legally from the country you live in. There are Māori (opens new window) and Pakeha (opens new window) versions of the cards, and at $50 I’m tempted to buy one and see how quickly I get kicked out of somewhere for trying to use it as valid ID.
Apparently the group are currently trying to raise enough money to send 10 people to Hawaii, which will somehow allow them to register all Maori Ranger cards as valid passports.
The Maori Rangers even have a card (opens new window) you can apparently use in place of a valid car registration. It says on it:
NOTICE TO AGENT IS NOTICE TO PRINCIPAL
NOTICE TO PRINCIPAL IS NOTICE TO AGENT
ANYTHING ATTACHED directly or INDIRECTLY (e.g. by Post) to this PRIVATE car or any of the contents therein Without prior written consent will be removed, by force if necessary, and will incur a fee of
$20,000 payable on demand
FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND THIS NOTICE OR notice THIS NOTICE IS INEXCUSABLE
Obviously this whole thing is bonkers. I hate the idea that someone might buy some card or other piece of nonsense from these people. $50 isn’t a lot to lose on the card itself, but for anyone under the impression that they have immunity from breaking the law, or receiving parking tickets, the cost could end up being a lot higher. Eventually they will have their day in court, if that’s what they’re looking for, and they’re not going to win, and it’s not going to be cheap. In fact, the Maori Ranger website already showcases at least one instance of someone attempting to use their ID card to get out of paying for a speeding ticket - unsurprisingly, the NZ Police were having none of it, saying of their efforts:
The court said such arguments had been considered and rejected by the Supreme Court and were “plainly unarguable”. Parliament is sovereign and its legislation applies to all New Zealanders irrespective of race. The infringement fees remain payable by the due date.
There is a tortuous half hour long video (opens new window) on their website that attempts to walk people through how to rebut attempts by NZ Police to collect fines, but I can’t shake the feeling that sending an essay back to the Infringement team talking about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the US Security and Exchange Commission’s website and the United Nations Diplomatic Privileges Order 1959 is not going to be very effective.
I’ve heard the Sovereign Citizen movement being described in the past as being very much like a cargo cult.
Its adherents think that legal phrases are endowed with magical abilities, and that simply uttering the right phrases in the right order, much like a magic incantation, will somehow have a legal standing and grant them immunity. This feels a lot like Cargo Cult members, who are said to believe that emulating the actions of second world war American airmen will reward them with the same wonders and riches that those airmen brought to the Pacific islands back in the day. It’s a fitting analogy.