Greens rule out support for urgent surveillance bill

Greens' law and order spokesman Keith Locke says the party would only in exceptional circumstances support retrospective legislation, and the Government's new surveillance bill was not one of them. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey
Greens' law and order spokesman Keith Locke says the party would only in exceptional circumstances support retrospective legislation, and the Government's new surveillance bill was not one of them. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey

The Green Party has confirmed it will not support the Government's urgent bill to make secret filming by the police lawful.

Prime Minister John Key this week announced plans to introduce a Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill, which would suspend the effect of a Supreme Court decision earlier this month into the Urewera case.

The bill would effectively mean police, under a search warrant, could still use hidden cameras on private property to gather evidence.

Greens' law and order spokesman Keith Locke today wrote to Attorney-General Chris Finlayson informing him that the party would not be supporting the bill.

Mr Locke said the Greens would only in exceptional circumstances support retrospective legislation, and this was not one.

"The Video Camera Surveillance Bill gives Police carte blanche to use covert video surveillance when implementing their search powers," Mr Locke said.

"After studying the draft legislation it appears that other state agencies will be given these unrestrained video surveillance powers. This goes against Section 21 of the Bill of Rights Act, prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure, including unreasonable surveillance by state agencies.

Mr Locke also questioned the Government's desire to rush the bill through, saying the Supreme Court's ruling made it clear that unlawfully obtained video evidence could be used in certain circumstances, including in the case of serious crime.

"Rushing through a law which gives any state agency a blank cheque to implement covert surveillance of private premises is irresponsible."

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 03 Oct 2014 03:40:51 Processing Time: 388ms