Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Search Bill Progresses – No Agreement on SFO

Debate over the Search and Surveillance Bill continued on Tuesday night, but Labour and National were unable to reach agreement on the controversial bill.

The bill arose out of a 2007 Law Commission report that said legislation relating to the search and surveillance powers of authorities was in need of an overhaul.

A bill introduced in 2008 was discharged and in 2009 another bill (though identical in content) was introduced, but made slow progress.

Then in August 2011 the Supreme Court ruled the police had illegally used hidden cameras to gather evidence in the Operation 8 case which centred around the 2007 Urewera raids.

Following this National and Labour could not agree on a permanent legislative response and instead agreed on an interim law which the Government said was necessary to ensure ongoing police investigations could continue.

This law expires in April and the House debated today the bill which replaces that legislation as well as covering wider issues.

Labour’s Charles Chauvel said tonight the Government had moved to meet some of his party’s concerns, but not enough for it support the bill.

Chauvel said bill as it was reported from select committee would have allowed the police to get a warrant and seize material from the media and the media could then apply to a district court judge to protect their sources.

Chauvel said the Government was now moving amendments that the material seized by police would now be held by the courts until a High Court Judge decided whether a journalist’s source should be protected.

Journalistic privilege was better protected, but Labour was not happy that the Serious Fraud Office were not covered, he said.

David Parker underlined Labour’s concerns that the SFO did not have to get a warrant from the courts to search and seize documents and said they would continue to oppose the bill

Justice Minister Judith Collins said she welcomed Labour’s input and attempt to reach agreement.

She said fears that police could release information seized in searches on media were incorrect and they could not compel a journalist to tell them their source unless a judge ordered them to do so.

Collins said the non-inclusion of the Serious Fraud Office was because it had never been part of the bill as it was drafted when the last Labour Government had been planning to disband the SFO.


The chain of events had meant that it was not possible to include the SFO in the bill at this stage without the issue going before a select committee.

The SFO law had been in place for many years and the issue of the SFO demanding papers off the media had only come up once (with the National Business Review last year).

The SFO’s production examination powers were ``fairly refined’’ and did not apply to the general public as police warrants did, she said.

Labour’s Lianne Dalziel said the SFO regularly used its powers and they should be some oversight of them.

Despite Labour’s disapproval National will pass the bill with support from ACT and United Future.

The bill completed its committee stage by 61 to 59 with National, ACT and United Future supporting and was reported with amendment.

MPs began the second reading debate on the stage of the Regulatory Reform Bill and Regulatory Reform (Repeals) Bill.


**
ParliamentToday.co.nz is a breaking news source for New Zealand parliamentary business featuring broadcast daily news reports.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Open Source, Open Society: More Than Just Transparency

Bill Bennett: “Share and share alike” is the message parents drum into children. But once they grow up and move out into the wider world, the shutters start to come down. We’re trained to be closed. Dave Lane, president of the New Zealand Open Source Society, says that explains the discomfort people find when they first encounter the open world. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Journalism, History And Forgetting

Compare that [the saturation coverage of WWI] not just with the thinly reported anniversaries last year of key battles in the New Zealand Wars, but with the coverage of the very consequential present-day efforts to remedy the damage those wars wrought, and the picture is pretty dismal. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Climate Of Fear

New Zealand, promoting itself as an efficient producer, has been operating as a factory farm for overseas markets with increasing intensity ever since the introduction of refrigerated shipping in 1882. The costs to native forests and to bio-diversity have been outlandish. The discussion of impacts has been minimal... More>>

ALSO:

Greek Riddles: Gordon Campbell On The Recent Smackdown Over Greece

There had been a fortnight of fevered buildup. Yet here we are in the aftermath of the February 28 showdown between the new Syriza government in Greece and the European Union “troika” and… no-one seems entirely sure what happened. Did the asteroid miss Earth? More>>

ALSO:

Keith Rankin: Contribution Through Innovation

The economic contribution of businesses and people is often quite unrelated to their taxable incomes. EHome, as a relatively new company, may have never earned any taxable income. Its successors almost certainly will earn income and pay tax. Yet it was eHome itself who made the biggest contribution by starting the venture in the first place. More>>

ALSO:

A Public Conversation: Reinventing News As A Public Right

Alastair Thompson: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Once journalism was possibly a noble profession, though that is certainly now, to quote our Prime Minister, a 'contestable' notion. It certainly seemed at least a little noble when I joined the ranks of reporters in 1989 . But ... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news