Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


NZLS opposes proposed surveillance law change

28 September 2011

NZLS opposes proposed surveillance law change

The New Zealand Law Society (NZLS) opposes enactment of the bill which would retrospectively amend the law relating to video camera surveillance.

However, the Law Society has also proposed an alternative solution, by amending section 30 of the Evidence Act 2006 to preserve the discretion of judges to allow any relevant and cogent evidence.

NZLS has released its submission on the Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill, which was introduced to Parliament last night under urgency.

The submission was presented to Parliament’s Justice and Electoral committee today by NZLS Criminal Law Committee convenor Jonathan Krebs and Rule of Law Committee member Grant Illingworth QC.

In its submission, the Law Society finds the proposed law "objectionable" for a number of reasons, including the fact that it misrepresents the legal position – both as it existed before the Supreme Court decision in the recent Hamed case and as it was determined to be in that case.

The Law Society says the bill would also effectively amend the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 by over-riding and attenuating a fundamental human right, and would do so in a way that appears disproportionate to any demonstrable need without community consultation.

"If enacted under urgency, as is intended, [the bill] would lack both the degree of consultation within the community and the leve of careful deliberation by Parliament that is appropriate for a singificant constitutional amendment," the submission says.

"A pressing and demonstrable need for such a serious departure from constitutional principle has not been demonstrated."

The Law Society says the bill would also show legislative interference with the judicial process for cases currently before the courts. This is inconsistent with the rule of law and the principles upon which the rule of law is based.

While the 9-page submission provides details of why the Law Society is opposed to the bill, it also proposes a "preferred alternative". This is based on the recent Supreme Court decision where the majority ruled that some of the unlawfully obtained evidence was admissible by virtue of section 30 of the Evidence Act 2006.

"Section 30 provides a more principled means of addressing the concerns that have been raised in the current debate than does the proposed law as set out in the draft bill," the Law Society says

"If urgent legislative intervention is considered necessary, and if section 30 in its current form is thought to provide an insufficient answer to the problem, it would be more appropriate to amend section 30 than to over-ride section 21 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act."

The Law Society has proposed an amendment to section 30 that could be enacted on an urgent basis.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news