PM's Post-Cabinet Presser: Surveillance In The Spotlight
At his weekly post-cabinet press conference Prime Minister John Key summarized the government's legislative response to the Supreme Court's ruling on covert video surveillance. He said the decision "has a serious effect on current operations involving the New Zealand police... the decision will have an adverse effect on a number of prosecutions underway."
The bill will be introduced tomorrow and sent to an urgent select committee process to report back next week and, if Parliament supports whatever form the bill finally takes, be passed.
Key said a number of Court of Appeal judgments on video surveillance in practise over the last 15 years gave it "very clear" support, and that the placing of hidden cameras on other people's property without their consent had, until the Supreme Court judgment, been allowed under common law. He supported the police's belief that the surveillance in question was legal.
It was possible the final bill could be non-retrospective, but he felt the might damage some current cases and risk appeals of past convictions. In response to the court, police have turned off cameras in cases involving "serious drug cases and other potential offences that could lead to life imprisonment".
The Prime Minister had opened his press conference expressing concern about the state of the global economy in the US and Europe, later suggesting the chance of a default by Greece were "greater the fifty percent". He said lower world growth could cause problems but we will be helped by Asia and he expected money to continue to flow. He later discussed possible effects and reactions in New Zealand.
He also noted the Rugby World Cup events on the weekend had gone well on the field and off – he said there were still tickets available. The Gvoernment was not expecting to break even on the tournament but would meet its target.
Negotiations were progressing to provide a venue for Aucklanders to be able to watch the NRL grand final on a big screen.
The Vice-Premier of China and the Prime Minister of Georgia will meet with Key during the week. He will attend the NRL Grand Final in Australia this weekend.
Other matter discussed were the Kiwisaver scheme (with the Government investigating options such as auto-enrolment), the process for the sale of Crafar farms which has taken five months to deal with what Key described as a 'complex' position – because "everything in that area is complex", the possible loss to the taxpayer from Terry Seripisos' bankruptcy, Imran Kahn's views on the action in Afghanistan, and the ACT Party's internal spasms, Don Brash's ideas on cannabis and John Boscawen's resignation. He said the loss of Boscawen would be a loss for ACT, but passed it to the press gallery to opine on what to make of a party the was losing all of its sitting MPs at the election.