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August 16, 2010 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Search and Surveillance Bill skulks back in through side-door

In May this year, after displays of public concern, the Justice and Electoral Select Committee sent the Search and Surveillance Bill back to the drawing board. In the last fortnight the bill has swooped back into the parliamentary picture.

The Justice and Electoral Select Committee has released recommendations for the bill in an interim report, suggesting changes including clarifying the “relationship between the bill and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990”.

The report indicates that the extent of power envisioned in the initial bill will be downsized, however, those opposed to the bill say the interim report does not correct fundamental problems.

“The Search and Surveillance Bill is an assault on every New Zealander’s fundamental rights and freedoms. There is simply no justification for this massive increase in state power,” says Lee Warren from Campaign to Stop the Bill.

In its current format, the bill will allow warrantless searches to be carried out on suspicion and grants ‘enforcement officers’ powers to seize items in plain view.

Other contentious provisions include agencies being given the right to search computers and email, and the introduction of examination orders, requiring individuals to report to the police for questioning. Circumstances where video and audio surveillance are able to be carried out will also broaden dramatically.

While supporters say the bill is simply a tool to consolidate existing powers, those opposed say this is not the case. Many of the powers that the Search and Surveillance Bill will grant to police and government agencies are previously unlegislated.

Further public submissions are being called for on the Search and Surveillance Bill.

Submissions can be emailed to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee Clerk at until Friday 3 September.

A public debate will be held on Monday 30 August between Michael Bott from the Council for Civil Liberties and National MP Chester Burrows, venue to be confirmed.


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  1. Liz W-M says:

    Update: The Public Meeting to stop the bill will be held on the 30th Aug, 7:00pm St. Josephs Church, Basin Reserve (just off Brougham St, Mt Vic). Speakers include: Michael Bott, NZ Council for Civil Liberties; Chester Burrows, Justice and Electoral Select Committee chair; and a campaign spokesperson.

    Check out the Campaign to Stop the Bill’s website here:

  2. smackdown says:

    im not clicking that i dont wanna get rickrolled :-S

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