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Tuesday, October 4

Bill gives all state agencies free reign

The Video Surveillance Bill as it has come back from the Select Committee remains offensive to the rule of law, Green Party Police spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

The Bill as it stands will allow not only the Police but other state agencies with search powers to install covert video cameras in people's homes.

"The Video Surveillance bill basically gives free reign to Police and any other state agency with search powers (including Fisheries, Customs, Commerce and Internal Affairs) to trespass on private propertiy to install covert cameras," said Mr Locke.

"This is a grave invasion of privacy.

"Even though the Green Party has been critical of the Search and Surveillance Bill for allowing Police to install covert video cameras in people's homes, at least that Bill, awaiting its second parliamentary reading, regulates the use of such powers.

"A new clause has also been added to the Bill instructing the Courts not to allow appeals just because the video surveillance evidence was unlawfully obtained.

"This is contrary to the Bill of Rights provisions guaranteeing a fair trial, under the law as it was at the time of the alleged offence.

"This makes the original rushed law worse," said Mr Locke.
"Legislation that retrospectively takes away people's rights is fundamentally offensive to the rule of law," said Mr Locke.

"The Government's attempt to deal with such an important and complex area of law in less than a week makes a mockery of proper Parliamentary process. It is a recipe for disaster."