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Harawira: Search and Surveillance Bill - Third Reading

Search and Surveillance Bill - Third Reading
Hone Harawira
MANA Leader and Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau
Thursday 22 March 2012

Mr Speaker, yesterday I spoke about the devastation visited upon the people of Tuhoe, by the police terrorism raids of 2007.

Today I speak to a bill which may make the Tuhoe experience, the norm for many other NZers.

Mr Speaker, last year parliament rushed through the Video Camera Temporary Surveillance Bill which gave extraordinary powers to state agencies to invade the privacy of citizens, without having to prove a good reason for doing so.

The ONLY submission received in support of it was from the Police. Everyone else - including the Law Society, Criminal Bar, civil rights groups and hundred of ordinary citizens - opposed it.

It was seen as an over-reaction, an expansion of the power of the state, a breach of human rights, an assault on the right to privacy, a breach of the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, and a move to legalise illegal police activity.

This bill Mr Speaker is even worse.

It is meant to streamline search and surveillance, by redefining the powers of more than 70 separate government agencies but what it actually does is give police powers to those agencies to gather information, without a search warrant.

Under this bill your right to silence will effectively no longer exist; police can make you report for questioning, not because they have any evidence, but simply because they suspect you of being involved in a range of offences – even minor ones like trespass or disorderly behaviour.

Under this bill you can be made to tell a judge why if you said anything, you might incriminate yourself – heads you lose, tails you lose …

Under this bill the police don’t have to prove anything to find you guilty; now they just have to order you to produce papers you are suspected of having (or may have in the future), and if you refuse to supply those papers, even if you don’t have them, you can be sent to jail for 12 months

Under this bill police won’t need to get a search warrant to bug your phone, or put a camera in your house or put a tracking device on your car. Now all they’ll need is a surveillance device warrant, which can be obtained by any officer of 70 different agencies based on their suspicion that what they find might be used in the prosecution of a crime. This bill goes way beyond what they have in Europe, in Canada, and even in the US.

Under this bill there will be no restriction on the use of anything the police find during a search or surveillance operation. If the surveillance data shows evidence of a different offence than that for which the warrant was obtained then that material can still be used in court.

Under this bill, once detained, enforcement officers can search your home, workplace, car, friend’s home or any place with which you are associated, without a warrant if they believe they can find material related to an offence. You don’t have to be guilty of anything. You don’t even have to be arrested. You simply have to be detained.

MANA opposes this bill because it leads to a police state:
where the liberties and freedoms most of us now enjoy will disappear
where the powers of the police will be extended without the approval of the judiciary,
where the powers of government agencies will assume more authority than the rights of ordinary NZers,
where there will be an assumption of guilt not only on an alleged offender, but anybody who might know about an alleged offence,
and where enforcement officers can bug your granddaughter’s phone, install a hidden camera in your daughter’s bathroom, download the files from your wife’s computer, and steal your files, without even having to prove that a crime has been or will be committed

MANA opposes this bill because it justifies the trauma and the damage inflicted unnecessarily on the people of Tuhoe in 2007. If that’s what search and surveillance is to be in the future, then woe betide Tuhoe, woe betide Maoridom, woe betide people who care to stand up for the things they believe in, indeed, woe betide NZers at large, because this bill will signal the end of free thinking, free association and freedom itself.

Mr Speaker - this bill is draconian and dangerous and MANA stands alongside all NZers who support freedom in opposing this bill.

© Scoop Media

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