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Restriction On Public Say Over Snooping Laws

Green MP Keith Locke today accused the Government of going back on a commitment to allow full public debate on legislation allowing police and security agencies to intercept emails and hack into computers.

Parliament's law and order committee has placed advertisements in newspapers this week setting a February 9 deadline for submissions on the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6).

"This deadline betrays a commitment Communications Minister Paul Swain made when introducing the bill, that there would be 'about six months for people to have their say'," said Mr Locke, the Green Party's police spokesperson.

"If you take away the holiday period, a February 9 deadline gives people very little time to prepare their submissions.

"Electronic interception and hacking are highly technical areas. Fully informed submissions will take some time to prepare. There are also major human rights and privacy issues for submitters to wrestle with.

"The Green Party is totally opposed to this draconian legislation. We may be the only party in the House to have voted against its introduction, but on this issue we represent a huge body of public opinion.

"The internet is abuzz with protest. The Green Party is circulating a petition not to allow 'police and security services to intercept email message'. It is signed by most people approached.

"I have written to Mr Swain, and the chair of the committee, Janet Mackey, asking for the time for submissions to be sustantially extended," said Mr Locke.

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