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‘Fixit’ law worse than expected

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, September 22nd, 2011 - 79 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, law and "order" - Tags:

From the Herald:

“Labour looks almost certain to oppose the bill after justice spokesman Charles Chauvel had his first look at the draft.

“There’s no undertaking about avoiding urgency or going to a select committee, and the bill itself goes much further than anything we’ve been lead to believe,””

I want to see Labour stick to its guns. We thought this law would individually target one Supreme Court case and put it on ice. An unprecedented abuse of the rule of law and separation of powers. How can it be worse?

“The bill would legalise all police use of video surveillance on private property, even if a search warrant had not been issued, as long as the “search” would have been lawful without planting a hidden camera”

Jesus, that’s terrible. There’s a reason we require agents of the State to have positive authority for their actions – eg search warrants. Under this law, if the police record you on your private property or someone else’s, that will be legal unless you can prove that they couldn’t have gotten a search warrant for their search. Rather than the State’s agents having to provide prove they have the authority to search and surveill you, it will be on you to hire a lawyer, go to court, and prove that they couldn’t have gotten that authority had they tried to. Which we all know amounts to carte blanche for the Police to do whatever they want. It seems that the ends justify the means and the rule of law can go fuck itself in the Nats’ mind. Chris Finlayson should resign for even proposing such a heinous law.

“Mr Key’s claim that serious criminals could get away with breaking the law continued to be questioned, in light of a clause in the Evidence Act that empowers a judge to allow illegally-obtained evidence on a case-by-case basis.”

We can expect Key to be true to form on this. He will simply refuse to engage. He has his spin line; the facts don’t enter into it.

“An alternative solution emerged yesterday: to remove the clauses in the Search and Surveillance Bill relevant to video tracking, and insert them into existing law until the whole bill can be passed. The clauses, which have broad support and have passed select committee scrutiny, would make police use of cameras legal with a search warrant for investigating crimes punishable by seven years’ jail or more, and for firearms offences.”

Why isn’t the government just doing what it could have done any time in the past year and pass the Search and Surveillance Bill or, at least, the relevant clauses?

It’s clear that this is about more than fixing a hole in the law that was well known but which the Policy chose to ignore. It’s an anti-democratic power grab in the tradition of Ecan, CERA, the Supercity, and the RWC Enabling Act.

79 comments on “‘Fixit’ law worse than expected”

  1. alex 1

    Just gives us extra incentive to fight the election with everything we have, if Labour, Greens and Mana can’t win, then we will end up with fascism by stealth.

    • Jenny 1.1

      …..if Labour, Greens and Mana can’t win, then we will end up with fascism by stealth.

      alex

      “Labour, Greens, Mana”, Alex, let’s not forget the Maori Party and New Zealand First

      Going on the polls this combination, (or some variation of it), already has this election in the bag. All it needs is for Labour to have:

      #1 The political will to fully embrace MMP,

      #2 The humility to forgo sectarian purity.

      #3 The pragmatism to forget the dream of ruling alone without the need for any pesky support parties. (at least for this election cycle)

      #4 The determination to win.

  2. Jim Nald 2

    “Why isn’t the government just doing what it could have done any time in the past year and pass the Search and Surveillance Bill or, at least, the relevant clauses?”

    The country’s Attorney General sounded really good putting on a straight face to cover his cock up: listen to the interview on Morning Report today.
    Could have almost fooled us.

    Btw, who is in charge of the legislative workload and timetabling? That is another cock up.

    • Btw, who is in charge of the legislative workload and timetabling? That is another cock up.

      Gerry Brownlee. Which explains a lot.

      • Jim Nald 2.1.1

        Makes perfect sense.

        With the RWC opening night cock up, we had the celebrated Triumvirate of Incompetents: McCully, Key and Joyce.

        With this ‘Fixit’ cock up, we have another exceptional Triumvirate of Incompetents: Finlayson, Brownlee and Power.

        Simon simon, where are you? Time to piss off from the house and the legislative agenda is no longer in your heart ?

  3. queenstfarmer 3

    I am simply waiting for Keith Locke’s final verdict. The more he condemns it, the better the law is and the faster it should be passed.

    OTOH if Keith makes any faintly positve noises about the Bill, it must not be passed.

    • toad 3.1

      Stop being a dork (if you’re capable of that).

    • Kaplan 3.2

      Basing your judgement of proposed legislation on your personal opinion of person who supports or objects to it is a sure way to show that your own analysis skills are non-existent.
      I suggest someone gets a covert camera in your living room to assess if you are danger to society or just yourself.

    • If Keith advocates that all humans should breathe will you adopt a contrary stance?

      • Blighty 3.3.1

        fingers crossed, micky.

      • grumpy 3.3.2

        That would be original thinking from Locke.

      • queenstfarmer 3.3.3

        What, Keith isn’t breathing at the moment? Could explain a few things….

        But I was only referring to this Bill. In law & order and international law matters, Keith is so far off the planet that his opposition to a proposal is an ideal proxy for how beneficial it is.

        In all other regards I’m sure Keith is a very nice fellow.

        • Colonial Viper 3.3.3.1

          Don’t fucking distract from the point. This is not about Keith Locke.

          This is about Finlayson and the National Govt abrogating the requirements of due process for both the police and the protection of the public.

          Loser.

          • tc 3.3.3.1.1

            Even if the virtual QSTF did stop breathing I bet there’s several troll tags ready and waiting in the queue.

        • bbfloyd 3.3.3.2

          queeny…”i’m sure keith is a very nice fellow”… which is a lot more than can be said for you, unfortunately…. if a poll was taken on what people thought of your comments, i wonder how much of a majority would tick the “waste of intellect” box….

          it’s people like you who make it such a complete waste of time trying to wade through the utter dross that passes for comment on kiwiblog… so for the sake of emotional, and intellectual wellbeing, it’s left to the rest of your uber fascist mob to spew their vitriolic howling to each other… no-one with an ounce of common sense is listening…

          • Mac1 3.3.3.2.1

            tick.

          • lprent 3.3.3.2.2

            I’ve never had a problem with QSF… I disagree with his opinions frequently, but I cannot recall ever seeing a behavioral issue. He argues his opinions pretty well and I have even had to rethink some of my opinions after reading his. What more can you ask from a commentator?

            • bbfloyd 3.3.3.2.2.1

              true to a point… there have been times he has made sense… (surprised me as well), but i can only note his recent relapse into reactionary braying…. i won’t try to guess at the reasoning behind it, personal motivation being the labyrinth that it is…

              at a time when we face what can be described as a great leap back to the dark days of pre WW2european politics….. this serious subject needs more than sneering game playing….

              so how long before we have our own “gestapo” to deal with? how hard will it be for the authorities to widen the definitions for appropriate use of state surveillance?

              the authorities reacting to the same social and economic fallout that their actions set in place using force and suppression….(building more prisons)….

              using the corporate owned news agencies to spread ever more divisive propaganda, and assist the isolation, and demonisation of any dissenting voices….

              one can assume reasonably confidently that those that would sneer and obfuscate either have no concept of recent history, are among the “it couldn’t happen here” group(and we all know what happens to them when it does), or that they are actively supporting totalitarian government as a sensible approach to society’s ills…..

              either way, i make no apology for lampooning them…

              • queenstfarmer

                What’s your point? That I should run a “poll on what people think of my comments” before posting them, in case a certain percentage of ordained people don’t agree? (actually given the choice between that and your later ideas, it’s not that bad of an option!)

                This is an excellently run site (FWIW&IMHO it is currently the best-equal blog in NZ in terms of content, and best overall in usability) – so I’m sure if I transgress any major rules the ever-vigilant mods will deal with me swiftly. My comment was light-hearted, but not in jest. And if what I say doesn’t please you, to my knowledge no-one is making you read it.

                either way, i make no apology for lampooning them…
                tick.

                • Hi qsf, what are the specific positions adopted by Keith Locke, in the past, on law and order and international law that you believe were “off the planet”?

                  • queenstfarmer

                    Way too many to even remember, let alone list. His position on tasers, Ahmed Zaoi, most anything he says about Israel/Palestine, national security, etc etc.

                    That is why I find his opposition to something (in his policy areas) a near-perfect proxy for whether I think something’s a good idea. Logically he’d find my support of something a great proxy for what he opposes.

    • muzza 3.4

      You are a dangerous human being , your posts are those of a troll and or a total dick head. If you think laws like this are a good idea, fcuk off and go live in North Korea you w*nker.
      Getting personal is reserved only ever for lifes total idiots, of which you fill the top few slots lately mate the others are taken up with politicians of all parties…
      You sir are a total fool!

      • queenstfarmer 3.4.1

        I love it how you say “getting personal is reserved only ever for lifes total idiots” and then immediatley call me total fool. Good times.

        For the record, the only thing personal I said about Keith is that he’s a lovely fellow, except in two policy areas where I applied the gravest-of-the-grave, disgustingly indecent, lifetime-ban-if-said-on-telly epithet, “off the planet”.

        Whoa!! Such language! And commenting on a politician’s political views?? Whatever next muzza.

  4. The logic of sidelining the Supreme Court is that of the anti-terror legislation since 9-11. It justifies any abuse of democracy by the executive. In NZ’s case it mobilises racist sentiment towards the Urewera 17 just like the colonial parliament passed retrospective legislations to lockup the Parihaka resistance in the 1880s. The racist right in NZ have a long history of using state terror to oppose anti-state resistance. Both Labour and the NACTs have been paranoid about Tame Iti and guns for years. My hunch is that the NACTs are going to use this as a provocation to smear Te Mana in the next 8 weeks as a bunch of ‘terrorists’.

    • insider 4.1

      Tame Iti hasn’t been entirely blameless in fostering this paranoia

      • vto 4.1.1

        I would still like to know what they were getting up to in the bush ………..

        What?

      • lprent 4.1.2

        The only act I can remember Tame Iti doing to foster that paranoia is discharging a weapon into the ground. Hardly and unsafe act. It is a action that has a specific charge and penalty. The details of the acts he is charged with in the few remaining charges is in the minor range, and something that I suspect that many rural people should also be charged with (based on my experience as an occasional rural resident).

        The point about the legal structure is that you are charged for your actual actions, and generally (what other acts these days now that sedition has been abolished?) not for what you think or say your opinions are. Trying to get convictions based on bullshitting over a few beers (which appears to be the rest of the charges) is pretty damn hard.

        The legal system doesn’t take much notice of other people being made paranoid by bluster and hot air. But it does suggest that those people simply need to get about more and learn about the world outside of their wee womb..

        • prism 4.1.2.1

          @ lprent Apart from firearms Tame Iti did hit a tourist with a taiaha didn’t he?

          • lprent 4.1.2.1.1

            Can’t remember that. Looking… Wasn’t a tourist ?

            Oh yeah Te Kaha, the guy that acquired the McCahon mural? From memory, he was protesting at a ceremony and Tame Iti went out to challenge him? A ceremonial challenge and no physical injury. With both of them playing to the cameras who just happened to be there…..

            Surprising how there was no complaint by Te Kaha for the police to act on wasn’t it? I guess that the guy thought it was appropriate behavior in that context.

            In fact the only strange thing about it all was the indignant voices raised by people who weren’t there but merely saw it on the idiot box. But I guess that was the whole point. Tame Iti is a bit of a publicity hound for his causes.

            There is no requirement for activists to be saints. They simply have to be legal. There should really be a requirement for police to keep their arsehole level down to acceptable limits. At present they are not acceptable and it is easy to measure – just look at how many charges they lay against their conviction rate.

            • prism 4.1.2.1.1.1

              @lprent I agree that there is no requirement to be saints – for activists and particularly for police. But police have to try harder than activists as they are supposed to be role models of what is good as well as lawful.

              Not forgetting politicians. They don’t have to be saints, just try to do their job for the good of the whole country and their occasional sexual lapse or occasional over-indulgence, provided it is legal or near enough to be discretionary, is them just doing the human thing.

        • vto 4.1.2.2

          That incident made for great pictures on te news, which was I’m sure one of Mr Iti’s aims with that stunt.

          But what I was asking was what were they all getting up to at the training camps? I bet somebody around here knows directly and accurately … any illumination?

          • McFlock 4.1.2.2.1

            Not a leading question at all, referring to “training camps”.
             
            The answer is the same as if you asked me what I did on my holidays: “none of your business”. The police need to legally prove a case that it IS any of our business (i.e. “public interest”). They haven’t, yet, for four people, and for the rest of the 18 people there is absolutely no public interest in what private individuals were doing on private land. They could have been having massive orgies for all the business it is of ours.
              

            • vto 4.1.2.2.1.1

              Well yes I am well aware of that point Mrs McFlock. And it is a fair enough one. But, given the turmoil these people have been through, and continue to go through, the silence on their part merely plays into people’s suspicions that something dastardly was in fact going on and in those suspicious minds the Police are justified in going after them – by whatever means. That is part of the politics playing out through this issue. And it seems to me the Urerewa people are letting it be tapped out on their heads with not much smarts on their part playing the politics back. Some explanation on their part, despite it being their private biz, would surely be some type of smart move.

              By their silence they condemn themselves in the eyes of many.

              edit: I would suggest that the Urerewa people will not so discuss though because they were in fact practising to be the new Dick Dastardly.

              • McFlock

                So all the accused should be spin doctors to prove their innocence in the public eye?
                  
                Fuck the eyes of many. The only eyes that matter now are those belonging to judges.
                  
                You can suggest all you want. The fact is that you’re making it up. If they are in fact completely innocent, you’re blaming them for not prospectively proving their innocence. So, from the same place as your “suggestion”, I suggest that if they are guilty of whatever charge it is this week, they would in fact have been able to prepare a contingency plan for capture before their nefarious activities, and this would have been indicated by an immediate and slick publicity campaign in the public eye. So the lack of their trial-by-media defense campaign actually supports the concept that they are innocent.

          • insider 4.1.2.2.2

            Why not look at the charges outlined the SC decision?

            “All appellants are charged with offences contrary to the Arms Act 1983 arising out of the possession and use of the firearms and Molotov cocktails.”

            “Four of the appellants (Te Rangiwhiria Kemara, Tame Iti, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey) are also charged under s 98A of the Crimes Act 1961 with participation in an organised criminal group.”

            “Although the objective of the criminal group… is not specified in the indictment, it has been treated in the lower Courts as being the objective of seizing by force an area of land, believed to be within the tribal lands of Tuhoe, through serious acts of violence.”

      • bbfloyd 4.1.3

        “fostering this paranoia”.. what deficiency of logic, or memory, has you behaving like the “paranoia” wasn’t already there in abundance? or if it makes it clearer,”paranoia driven by the suppressed guilt of the descendents of the people who committed crimes against descendents of tama iti, and his contemporaries”

        trying to shift blame onto the victims of theft and persecution is a standard ploy when the perpetrator hasn’t the guts,or the humanity to face the consequences of their acts.

        my word… doesn’t that sound just like the modern national party? descendents of the same robber barons who treated the tangata whenua so ruthlessly and shamefully…

  5. ianmac 5

    Posted this on Open Mike but might be more use here:
    Another clearly stated opinion this time by Mai Chen on the five issues that she perceives with the retrospective Surveillance proposals.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10753400
    Her last para sums it up nicely in my opinion.
    No one wants to let criminal offenders get off scot free, but if the Government passed prospective, rather than retrospective, legislation concerning the Supreme Court decision, this would preserve the fundamental constitutional principle that we are all ruled by law (including the police) and we should know what the law and its consequences are before we act.

  6. prism 6

    I’m being picky here but I think the remarks illustrate an attitude. I was listening to Mr Finlayson who’s in charge of justice this morning and he referred to the Leader of the Other Party or similar instead of referring to Mr Goff of Labour. It was as if he had a disdain for mentioning the Labour Party.

    Later when he was naming the Opposition leaders he referred to Mr Goff and Annette. This business of being casual, implying a matey, patronising attitude, with women’s names but formal with men’s names is common. It implies to me an underlying difference in attitudes of respect to women compared to that for other men. You get it on plane trips – your flight attendant is Anoushka but the plane is piloted by John Smith and James Smith.

    • Anne 6.1

      @ prism
      Well of course ‘Mr’ Finlayson has a big bone to pick with Labour and Phil Goff. He and his mates thought Labour would come to the party over his Surveillance Bill because they would be too afraid of being labelled as “soft on crime”. Instead it looks like Labour is going to stare the Nats down on this one. Great stuff if they stick to their guns.

      Master Finlayson can go and sulk in the corner for as long as he likes.

    • Aye and he did not debate the issue with Phil but chose to go after.  And then he tried to blame Labour about the problem.  He tried to sound like he was being diplomatic but kept putting the boot in.  If only we had an interviewer who would talk him to task for this.

  7. If there are two groups of people who citizens should expect to follow the ‘RULE OF LAW’ – then surely they are the POLICE and JUDGES?

    It is NOT ok in a supposedly ‘free and democratic’ society – for NZ Police or Judges to act unlawfully – then get the Government to pass retrospective legislation to effectively legitimise their arguably criminal behaviour.

    If the Police evidence was unlawfully obtained – then it should not be allowed to be used.

    LEARN THE LESSON!

    Do things PROPERLY – based upon the RULE OF LAW, as one would expect to happen in a ‘free and democratic’ society!

    (Especially given that New Zealand is ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’ (along with Denmark and Singapore according to Transparency International’s 2010 ‘Corruption Perception Index’?)

    If the law is seen to be inadequate – then surely the answer go through proper lawful ‘due process’ in order to get the law changed, after a full consultation / select committee process?

    If Police and Judges can just ‘make it up’ and do as they please – without themselves following the LAW – then what’s the difference between them and the ‘criminals’ – who are being ‘investigated’ for their alleged ‘law-breaking’?

    Who is holding the Police and Judges accountable for THEIR unlawful actions?

    How can the public have confidence in the Police, Judges or this Government – if the ‘Rule of Law’ is not upheld and unlawful ‘bad behaviour’ is not only excused but retrospectively legitimised?

    In my considered opinion, it is high time full credit was given to NZ’s foremost ‘Whistleblower’ on judicial corruption, and the lack of judicial transparency and accountability in this country.

    I am referring to someone who I consider to be a fellow ‘Public Watchdog’ on judicial matters – Vince Siemer.

    Vince Siemer is the only person who is currently facing jail for proceedings connected with the Urewera 17 – and he is not even a party.

    Vince Siemer was sentenced to 6 weeks jail for ‘contempt of court’ for breaching Chief High Court Judge Winkelmann’s supposed ‘Court Order’ that the Urewera 17 defendants were to be denied their right to trial by jury and the public was not allowed to know about this.

    Small technical point – there is no section in any NZ Act which lawfully allows a Judge to suppress a judgment or the reasons for it.

    It was the Solicitor-General, David Collins QC – who initiated ‘contempt’ proceedings against Vince Siemer who published Judge Winkelmann’s decision on his website http://www.kiwisfirst.co.nz.

    It is apparently the first time EVER, ANYWHERE that a third party publisher has been sentenced to imprisonment for breaching a suppression order.

    This is quite simply a further disgusting example of the persecution of Vince Siemer.

    Vince Siemer has not yet been incarcerated – there is an indefinite ‘stay’ pending a further order of the Court.

    In my considered opinion, NZ Judges and the ‘second-highest lawyer in the land’ – the Solicitor-General are quite simply ‘out of control’.

    Our NZ ‘justice’ system needs THREE ‘systems’ changes that would transform it – in my considered opinion.

    1) An enforceable ‘Code of Conduct’ for NZ Judges.

    (Based upon the ‘Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct’ – an international ‘best practice’ – Code of Conduct made by Judges for Judges. )

    2) A ‘Register of Pecuniary Interests’ for NZ Judges.

    3) ALL Court proceedings to be recorded, and copies made available to parties who request them.

    How can ‘justice be done and be seen to be done’ – when there is no record in court of WHAT was done?

    How can a ‘court of record’ not keep a record?

    If you want to get a better understanding of the lack of ‘open, transparent and accountable’ justice in NZ – I most strongly recommend you read for yourself articles published on Vince Siemer’s website
    http://www.kiwisfirst.co.nz , and spread the word.

    Penny Bright. Independent ‘Public Watchdog’ candidate for Epsom.

    • prism 7.1

      @Penny Bright

      Vince Siemer has not yet been incarcerated – there is an indefinite ‘stay’ pending a further order of the Court.Vince Siemer has not yet been incarcerated – there is an indefinite ‘stay’ pending a further order of the Court.

      The above report seems to be in line with one made much earlier on the blog that our police/justice system punishes people by pinging them with spurious charges then making them wait and dangle like puppets while the judicial system grinds slowly on, with their case being dropped at the last moment.

  8. Tangled up in blue 8

    I want to see Labour stick to its guns

    Interestingly, Armstrong claims that it’s inevitable Labour will support it, as it would be politically damaging if they didn’t.

    • Anne 8.1

      Well, Tory boy Armstrong has been wrong before, and I hope he is wrong again. Something to do with being up his own ego?

  9. freedom 9

    some DimPost hilarity

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    There is a disconect between the tories like Queenst farmer, farragblog oilyorca etc., who chime in

    when the police use a speed camera or radar behind a tree on an open road, and its outrageous abuse

    of police power. But filming on private property or even inside a building illegally , whats the problem

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    Chris Finlayson should resign for even proposing such a heinous law.

    No, he should be thrown in jail with a 20 year non-parole period. There’s no way the government should be proposing laws that counter the rule of law.

    • queenstfarmer 11.1

      You mean pass a retrospective law making his actions unlawful? 🙂

      • thejackal 11.1.1

        No queenstfarmer… I think Draco T Bastard means that it should be illegal for Ministers of the Crown to undermine our civil liberties by proposing stupid fascist laws that give the police too much power. We already have enough problems with people abusing their powers in this country… Now we have a government who uses fear to try and promote more intrusive laws. It’s not the criminals they’re after, it’s normal people who oppose their regime.

    • Deb 11.2

      I so hear you Draco, I felt the same way when Labour legislated retrospectively to avoid prosecution over their electoral overspend in 2005.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_New_Zealand_election_funding_controversy

      • ghostwhowalksnz 11.2.1

        They paid it back
        Like all the other parties ( except NZF)
        I think Jim Anderton was the only one who didnt spend it illegally
        The government commonly passes laws validating ‘spending decisions’ that were outside the regulations

      • Draco T Bastard 11.2.2

        That, as I’ve explained before, was due to the fact that if they hadn’t made it retrospective it would have invalidated the all the governments actions for the previous 14 years. We would have had to remove 14 years of legislation from the books, compensate people for crimes that they had committed under that legislation and generally cause a major constitutional crisis.

        On top of that the whole situation is is the exact opposite. For 14 years our political parties had believed that they were operating legally. In this case the police knew that they were acting illegally.

    • insider 11.3

      “There’s no way the government should be proposing laws that counter the rule of law”

      You are effectively saying the law, any law, can never change. This makes no sense. The govt through parliament makes law. Every year they put forward new bills that propose changes to existing laws – that is not countering the rule of law. Every year judges give new interpretations of existing law – that is not countering the rule of law. The two feed off and reinforce each other. That’s how the law adapts to unforeseen circumstances and to implement changes in policy.

      • bbfloyd 11.3.1

        insider… trying to make intelligent comment is a bridge too far for you, isn’t it? i suggest you go back to your panic room, and think, yes i know, look it up…… but if you give it a try, who knows, you might start to make comment that makes at least a little bit of sense…. this childish insistence on arguing for it’s own sake long after you have demonstrated no practical grasp of the realities of the situation is rather pathetic… slightly amusing….. but only very slightly…

      • Draco T Bastard 11.3.2

        No I’m not you moron.

        The law needs to be interpreted as it was at the time that an act occurred. Allowing laws to be retrospective* precludes that possibility as the law could be changed at a later date.

        * There are some very exceptional cases where retrospective law changes are necessary. This is not one of them.

        • insider 11.3.2.1

          Well that is what finlayson says he is doing – restqoring the view of the law as it was before The supreme court have laid down a ‘new’ view. See Andrew Geddis’s comment below. Good to see you supporting the intentions of the govt though Draco. There’s hope for you yet 😉

  12. Irascible 12

    This proposed legislation is in line with Key’s fundamental belief, re-enforced by his election buddy, Brash, that the NZ law is of no consequence and can be disposed of at any point. The sale of the legislature to Warner Bros in the “Anti-Hobbit Actors Bill” was the first example of this belief. The Surveillance Bill is yet another.

    On another note BBC reports that the NZ economy is in deep recession which won’t recover from the mythical lift from the RWC. This was followed by a story declaring that the IRFU was having second thoughts about the economic wisdom of allowing NZ to pay for the “privilege” of hosting the commercial enterprise. Apparently the accountant economists are convinced that unless such spectacles are hosted in Asian countries, like Japan, the economic return is is not of benefit to the IRFU.

  13. Campbell Larsen 13

    What hope is there for a fair trial for those who are currently being tried or are under investigation?
    The police now must make out that those that have placed under illegal surveillance are serious criminals or else they will either not be able to use the evidence they have collected or they will have to admit that their approach is to just film and bug whoever they damn well please.
    Since neither of those options is palatable to the police those under investigation will undoubtably face charges that are more severe than they otherwise would have.
    That is not justice.

    • insider 13.1

      Wrong. THe whole point of the law change is to make film evidence legal. It will then be no more prejudicial than fingerprints or eyewitness evidence.

      • freedom 13.1.1

        Insider, wrong

        If the Police Lawyers had asked for each warrant to include the right to capture covert video surveillance on private property as they were legally entitled to, then this would not be a problem. The Police lawyers knew full well the law did not cover all known media and only had to specify the requirements for a particular technology as it pertained to each investigation. Being lazy is no excuse for forcing retrospective legislation. Being Police though, they thought they were/are above the law. History is rife with these activities and they have always gotten away with it.

        Either the cases were serious enough for covert surveillance or they were not.

        There is not and should not be any circumstance where covert surveillance is carried out on anybody without the due process of a legal safeguard, such as the declaration of evidence or qualifying suspicion of criminal activity that is presented in the petitioning of a warrant.

        • insider 13.1.1.1

          @freedom

          My reading of what the SC said was that secret video is illegal because it has to be actively allowed in statute, and much of that is due to the protections laid out in the BORA re freedom from unreasonable search. they therefore couldn’t ‘ask’ for permission for video in warrants because there was no authority to give them permission. That is why Finlayson is asking for an act that specifically states video is lawful.

          Till now Police had been relying on the greyness of it neither being allowed nor disallowed in statute and getting away with it, but they had noted in their initial requests for intercept warrants that they would be carrying out video surveillance, though that was of no legal value. Whether you think their actions were just pragmatic or corrupt I suspect is down to your personal view of the police.

          • McFlock 13.1.1.1.1

            Almost.
            Geddis etc seem to agree with your assessment that it’s not permitted under legislation, but the police were relying on case-by-case rulings under the evidence act to let them use illegally obtained evidence (video recordings). The trouble is that the Supreme court decided that the police shouldn’t be allowed to routinely and intentionally gather illegal evidence, so the evidence in not admissable unless the charges the accused face are serious (basically, Key’s a liar when he says serious criminals might be released on a technicality).

            The evidence gained legally and illegally didn’t support the serious terrorism charges, or sedition, so most of the accused walked free because they were only facing – and this is an important bit – charges that were minor compared to institutionalised illegality by our police force.

            • Andrew Geddis 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Sort of …

              The absence of specific legislative authorisation (ie the ability to get a warrant specifically authorising video surveillance) left the Police relying on the fact that they had never specifically been told by a court that they can’t video. They knew this was a bit dodgy as a legal basis for their actions, so they relied on the discretion under the Evidence Act to let evidence in anyway if they ever got called up on what they were doing.

              What the Supreme Court has now done is tell the Police in no uncertain terms their actions are unlawful (both as a trespass and as an unreasonable search under the NZBORA) and also decided that some of the evidence gathered using it can’t be used against some of the defendants. This then causes a problem for the Police:
              (i) Some of the evidence they’ve collected in cases before the courts at the moment is now suspect (i.e. will only be used if the courts exercise the Evidence Act discretion to let it in);
              (ii) The Police can no longer do video surveillance that requires going onto a suspect’s land/property, because the Police can’t use an investigative tool they’ve been told is unlawful.

              The question is, how do you fix this issue? Simply saying “video surveillance is lawful” means that the Police can choose to use it anytime they get a search warrant for any reason – the permission to enter land to look for a specific thing then also permits ongoing video surveillance for an indeterminate length of time. And you can get a search warrant for any offence punishable by any term of imprisonment … so that’s quite a lot of discretion to leave in the Police’s hands. Hence the argument that it would be better to put in place a system whereby the Police can only do this sort of surveillance if they get a specific warrant for it, under controls on when and how it can be done.

            • insider 13.1.1.1.1.2

              Sedition was never an issue because that was no longer a crime. The tsa charges were never pursued because the solicitor general said the act effectively wasn’t fit for purpose – not that there was no evidence of seriously dodgy goings on. I wouldn’t call crimes with potential sentences of four or five years in prison minor, and neither did the supreme court. But trying to trivialize what was going on is an ongoing meme around this case.

              • McFlock

                Sedition applied in 2007:

                Stuff :”In the months that followed they applied to a judge for more search warrants, in the early part of 2007 alleging “seditious conspiracy” and later replacing that with taking part in a “terrorist” group. The terrorism allegation did not stand legal scrutiny though and the Solicitor-General was later to rule that Terrorism Suppression Act charges could not be laid.”

              • lprent

                You mean the four serious charges? Out of the original 18 who were charged? And where after all of the hooha and extremely large amounts of expense from Aaron Pascoe and the other crazies in the police paranoid ward in Otahuhu we are now looking at 4 people charged with offenses that carry maximum penalties that are miraculously small compared to the cost of not bringing most to trial. And theft of a TV carries a higher maximum prison penalty if it costs more than $1000.

                Perhaps the reason that there is a tendency to ‘trivialize’ what was going on was because it appears it was a complete waste of time by some bored cops trying to generate something to justify their jobs. So far they have merely managed to bankrupt 14 people who they have not managed to make a case against.

                • insider

                  I recommend you read sian Elias comments on the seriousness of the charges-she’s hardly a hanging judge. But yes it’s all harmless stuff organizing gatherings of peace activists from around nz, to play with guns, live ammo and napalm, trading weapons in back streets whilst discussing political assassination, robberies, and killing cops. What merry japes they had. Nothing to see here. Yep taking a plasma is much worse.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    The post is about how shit National and Finlayson’s law is, and how it undermines the standards, checks and balances of civilian policing in a so-called democracy.

                    • insider

                      You misunderstand the warrant issue. You need to read Andrew Geddis’s comment below. He explains it.

                  • lprent

                    The charges are serious – that is all that Sian Elias really said. If those charges will result in a conviction is a separate issue, or even if the charges were justified are both topics that she didn’t address.

                    Quite simply the police can lay any bogus charge they like regardless of if it will fly in court and they frequently do to activists. Most do not result in convictions, but are pretty good at harassing activists.

                    Just about every activist around animal rights and for that matter many unionists have charge sheets as long as your arm. However it is unusual to find too many of them who have many convictions.

                    I think that rocky (my niece) has been charged something like 20 times. She was only convicted once where it hasn’t been overturned by a higher court, and that was because she was defending herself, living in a different city, and had problems getting witnesses to court because the police kept asking for continuances until the day that her witnesses were unable to attend court. Charges that the police have concocted against her are usually bogus, and several times that they haven’t even bothered to make a case when it finally got in front of a judge.

                    Apparently you’re gullible enough to think that when the police lay a charge, they actually mean that they have the evidence to pursue it. When it comes to activists, laying charges is mostly a way of extracting a punishment using the legal system – even when they have no hope in hell of a conviction. Run them to and from court paying for lawyers. No skin off the police nose because they don’t have to pay the costs.

                    Needless to say, almost everything you describe is an assertion by the police that is not borne out by the evidence. Napalm? Piss off. That is one that won’t last more than a few minutes in front of a judge…

                    Ummm have you ever been around the gun collectors? Some of them are just crazy and I always want to personally safe their weapons before I relax around them. Most of their weapons are legal… Some are not. One friend had a bofors gun outside his house right next to the missile launcher that had his solar cells mounted on it. Or some of the more obsessive of the management bods I have worked with that spent their weekends running around playing the war games that I did in the army.

                    I guess you have had a bit of a sheltered existence.

                    • Jenny

                      I tautoko that Lynn. An extremist government in league with a police force with an anti-leftist political agenda is a recipe for disaster.

                      This is why it is vital for all those on the left opposed to a nACT government need to work together to make sure that nACT is kept away from the levers of power.

                      There can be little doubt that austerity program that a nACT government will impose will cause social upheaval, hence the need for greater repression.

                      Social upheaval could take several forms, but all of it will be fueled by the fact that nACT rule has no mandate. The majority will feel disenfranchised by the inability of their leaders to work together to defeat the common danger.

  14. vto 14

    I think we should just be done with it and each get a device like a wristwatch that records everything we do each and every day. At the end of each month it could be handed to Police who could check for law-breaking activities.

    Then we wouldn’t even need these stupid laws.

    • ianmac 14.1

      And VTO, children and partners could be paid for information that could be interpreted as evidence of illegal activity. Dad having a quiet spliff behind the garage springs to mind.
      Kabling! $100 reward for the son/daughter/wife.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        Can’t wait for the scheme to be extended to ‘dob in a mate’ ‘dob in a union leader’ or ‘dob in a CEO’.

        What a great country we will be then.

  15. Herodotus 15

    There are bad people out there that the law or lack of currently protects. very bad people
    I have proof right from John Keys mouth. So we don’t need anymore debate !!!!!
    This is incitful radio hahaha
    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/thisweek/hourrecs/Tue,%20Sep%2020%2010.00%20trn-newstalk-zb-akl.asf

  16. “Order” is not the same as “Law and order”. If anyone in a free and democratic society should be held to the highest legal standard of the rule of law, it is the police and judges.

    A forgotten lesson of history is that the Nazis never polled more than 35% in Germany at their height. Nonetheless, they were able to raise public fear of the Jews, Gypsies and criminals such that the SS was given dispensation from the law to protect the German people. We all know how that one turned out.

    Police powers invariably lead to a police state.

  17. Of course, law means equality and equality is for all!! Move ahead…

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