web analytics

Forget worm farms the Health and Safety Reform Bill proposes secret trials

Written By: - Date published: 8:54 am, August 26th, 2015 - 23 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Deep stuff, national, Politics, same old national - Tags:

GCSB Maxwell Smart

The way that lawmaking should occur is that a bill is introduced, it is sent to a select committee for consideration, submissions from the public and professional bodies are carefully considered, meaningful changes are then made and the bill is then returned to our parliament for our elected representatives to debate and enact if it is considered appropriate.

An important part of the process is for the Attorney General to consider the bill to measure it against the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 so that at least comment can be made if our rights are not being respected.

News released yesterday suggests multiple breaches of these constitutional understandings have occurred in the handling of the Health and Safety Reform Bill.  A new section have been introduced following the hearing of submissions which has the appearance of filling in an oversight.  It introduces the ability of the Director of Security to declare that some provisions of the bill do not apply to some workers carrying out work for the SIS or the GCSB.  No Bill of Rights review now occurs.  And a new schedule allows for classified security information being hidden from a Court.  Big brother here we come.

The Law Society is not impressed and released this statement:

The New Zealand Law Society has expressed its significant concerns at the last-minute addition to the Health and Safety Reform Bill of provisions for a closed material procedure for court proceedings where national security is involved.

The Law Society has written to the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety, saying the provisions should not have been inserted at this late stage of the legislative process.

The provisions will allow a person to be tried and convicted of a criminal offence without seeing all the information relied on by the Crown and without the right to be present (or to have their representative present) during all the proceedings. This is inconsistent with the fundamental right to a fair trial, the Law Society says.

“We recommend removal of the provisions from the Bill, to await the outcome of an inquiry the Law Commission is carrying out on National Security Information in Proceedings,” Law Society President Chris Moore says.

The Law Society’s proposal that there be consideration of the Law Commission’s review of the use of national information in proceedings seems eminently sensible.  Putting this sort of provision into individual bills as they come up is draining and piecemeal and does not allow a proper debate on whether there should be trials with secret evidence at all.

Putting to one side the question of whether or not the provision is actually needed you have to wonder why it was not in the original bill.  Was this an oversight or is this an attempt to sneak it through?

There are similar provisions in other Acts.  There is power in the Passports Act 1992 for the Court to receive classified security information without the parties to the case having access to the information.  There are similar provisions in the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 and the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013.  Generally these provisions give the Court access to classified information but the parties and their representatives are not.

Because of the shortness of time I am unable to say if the changes to the Health and Safety Reform Bill go any further than these other provisions.  But you have to wonder why the provision was not included earlier.  As can be seen by the other Acts there is a precedent for this sort of rule.

You also have to wonder why an act of general application needs the same extreme provision that is found in Acts dealing directly with potential terrorist threats.  As the Law Society points out surely it would be better for this particular provision to be codified so that it is of general application.

There has been some criticism of Labour and the Greens for not appreciating the implication of this change.  This is harsh.  The bill has had a number of changes made and the handling of it is an utter mess.  The Government should wear this, not the opposition.

23 comments on “Forget worm farms the Health and Safety Reform Bill proposes secret trials ”

  1. tracey 1

    I can see why, say, the military might need exemptions…

    BUT of most import is HOW this has been done. Peter Dunne? Seymour (on behalf of libertarians everywhere)? Maori Party?

    Perhaps National wants its Bill voted down…

  2. Ad 2

    Which idiot official forgot to spell out what this would look like in the court of public opinion?

    Consider a good set of media stories where someone found guilty in a secret court gets to explain their side of things, and the Crown, bound by secrecy, can’t defend itself. Such a lovely tv series that would make.

    The government would be massively damaged. BORA defends the government and citizens together. And all of this in the 700th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

  3. amy 3

    I am at a loss to see quite what the problem is here, other than sloppy or neglent legal drafting in the original bill.

    Employees and contractors in defense or security must, by the nature of their employment, be subject to different sets of rules.

    700 th aniversery of Magna Carta. How does that relate to this topic? It gave no freedoms to the vast majority and only limited and extremely short lived freedoms to a small elite.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      It has not been vetted for bill of rights issues. No one has been able to submit on it because it was added late. This sort of provision has only previously been added to legislation dealing specifically with security threats and not in a general Act. The provision allowing the Director of Security to state that certain provisions of the law do not apply to employees is as far as I can tell unique. These sorts of changes should be subject to full analysis and debate and not rammed through at the last minute.

    • greywarshark 3.2

      @amy
      Sounds like you are an apologist for wonky legislation, and willing to delve back centuries for the examples of some that didn’t work properly so as to excuse the same recurring after all these years of experience with the principles. When the Magna Carta is quoted it will be referring both to new principles to be adopted in new legislation and to the spirit and direction of the document which had to be a living document like the Treaty of Waitangi.

      • amy 3.2.1

        Ok so because I have a different opinion to you, it follows that I am ‘an apologist’? Pathetic argument.

    • tracey 3.3

      Then shouldn’t have been overlooked, and then quietly added. Let’s do that open and transparent thing when discussing the need for some exceptions.

      “other than sloppy or neglent legal drafting in the original bill.”

      Hmmm sloppy or negligent drafting? Been plenty of time for those who want this legislation to get it right without blaming the drafters. Drafters write for what they are told. If they are not told to draft a section excluding secret services, they don’t draft it. Not their job.

    • RedBaronCV 3.4

      Like no come back against the sexual harrassment – there have been planty of cases of that in the armed forces-

  4. tc 4

    Watching Marama Fox on Te Karere would make the nats very happy with their lapdog coalition party toeing the line soothing the sheeple.

    Reminded me of Parata at her arrogant best and this show is looking like it’s put together by high school media students now.

    • save NZ 4.1

      +1 TC – in the interests of cost cutting current affairs probably is put together by high school media students as part of their NCEA – or at least that is in the pipe line….

  5. Anne 5

    Was this an oversight or is this an attempt to sneak it through?

    It smacks of the former to me. A hastily cobbled together Bill full of loopholes and outrageous inconsistencies and now various arms of government are screaming… “ya can’t do that! How are we supposed to do our job with that kinda stuff hanging over our heads. You gotta be joking”.

    So, this government in typical haphazard manner, thinks it can just tag things on the end of a piece of legislation and get away with it. A mickey mouse outfit to be sure!

    • dukeofurl 5.1

      You just know they will take this little rushed amendment ( seemingly carefully and comprehensively worded) and use it to avoid scrutiny in any circumstances totally outside ‘health and safety’.

      • Anne 5.1.1

        Yes.

        We’ve got an inquiry at the moment into John Key’s Office’s OIA refusals re- Rachel Glucina. Doubt Mr Key and his lackeys want too much light shed on that little tete a tete…

      • Tautoko Mangō Mata 5.1.2

        If the Māori Party agreed to back the H & S bill BEFORE this amendment plus the withdrawal of beef and lamb farming, then surely they should have every right to withdraw their support now that it has been significantly changed.
        It is about time that the Māori Party stood up against this disrespectful, underhand National Party.

    • save NZ 5.2

      They are worse than mickey mouse – they are criminals.

      It is beyond a cartoon, it is a dirty scam to pervert democracy and process.

  6. Ad 6

    Woodhouse is having his very own Celebrity Roast in the House.
    The MSM media is on side with this one. Trade publications will be next, then Institute of Directors.

    Bet the first Director held liable takes it all the way to the Supreme Court, where those parts of it are held as unworkable.

    Plus government are now getting it wrong the other way with schools reacting.
    Rush something through without good time for submissions, this is what you get.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    News released yesterday suggests multiple breaches of these constitutional understandings have occurred in the handling of the Health and Safety Reform Bill.

    That would be National. If some thing’s not specifically illegal but has the force of tradition and morality behind it they’ll ignore it to put in place policies that suit their ideology.

    Was this an oversight or is this an attempt to sneak it through?

    This government is National in it’s full immoral glory so it’s most likely the latter.

    As the Law Society points out surely it would be better for this particular provision to be codified so that it is of general application.

    And doing so would make the law simpler and thus help to close any loopholes in the law.

  8. sirpat 8

    am i waaaaayyyy out on a limb suggesting that with its late inclusion etc etc that this would suit something to do with the TPPA?

  9. Macro 9

    No Right Turn has an excellent summary of this Bill here and some of the potential ways it might be used by govt to cover up.
    http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2015/08/what-trials-does-national-want-to-keep.html
    It is bad law and we must make sure that it is removed at the first opportunity.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • How we’re preparing for Omicron
    As countries around the world experience Omicron outbreaks, we’re taking steps now to ensure we’re as prepared as possible and our communities are protected. ...
    2 days ago
  • What’s Labour achieved so far?
    Quite a bit! This Government was elected to take on the toughest issues facing Aotearoa – and that’s what we’re doing. Since the start of the pandemic, protecting lives and livelihoods has been a priority, but we’ve also made progress on long-term challenges, to deliver a future the next generation ...
    1 week ago
  • Tackling the big issues in 2022
    This year, keeping Kiwis safe from COVID will remain a key priority of the Government – but we’re also pushing ahead on some of New Zealand’s biggest long-term challenges. In 2022, we’re working to get more Kiwis into homes, reduce emissions, lift children out of poverty, and ensure people get ...
    1 week ago

  • New Zealand to provide further help for Tonga
    Aotearoa New Zealand is giving an additional $2 million in humanitarian funding for Tonga as the country recovers from a volcanic eruption and tsunami last weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. This brings Aotearoa New Zealand’s contribution to $3 million. “This support will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Quarterly benefit numbers show highest number of exits into work
    The Government’s strong focus on supporting more people into work is reflected in benefit figures released today which show a year-on-year fall of around 21,300 people receiving a main benefit in the December 2021 quarter, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said. “Our response to COVID has helped ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Northland to move to Orange, NZ prepared for Omicron 
    Northland to move to Orange Rest of New Zealand stays at Orange in preparedness for Omicron All of New Zealand to move into Red in the event of Omicron community outbreak – no use of lockdowns Govt planning well advanced – new case management, close contact definition and testing rules ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • RNZAF C-130 Hercules flight departs for Tonga as Navy vessels draw nearer to Tongatapu
    A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules has departed Base Auckland Whenuapai for Tonga carrying aid supplies, as the New Zealand aid effort ramps up, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “The aircraft is carrying humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies, including water ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand prepared to send support to Tonga
    New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga in its recovery from Saturday night’s undersea eruption and tsunami, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “Following the successful surveillance and reconnaissance flight of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and details have been sent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand stands ready to assist people of Tonga
    The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. “Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga,” said Nanaia Mahuta. New Zealand has made an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Record high of new homes consented continues
    In the year ended November 2021, 48,522 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the November 2020 year. In November 2021, 4,688 new dwellings were consented. Auckland’s new homes consented numbers rose 25 per cent in the last year. Annual figures for the last nine months show more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Report trumpets scope for ice cream exports
    Latest research into our premium ice cream industry suggests exporters could find new buyers in valuable overseas markets as consumers increasingly look for tip top quality in food. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has released a new report for the Food and Beverage Information Project. The project is run by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Honouring the legacy of legendary kaumātua Muriwai Ihakara
    Associate Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage Kiri Allan expressed her great sadness and deepest condolences at the passing of esteemed kaumātua, Muriwai Ihakara. “Muriwai’s passing is not only a loss for the wider creative sector but for all of Aotearoa New Zealand. The country has lost a much beloved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Have your say on proposed changes to make drinking water safer
    Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer. “The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Kiri Allan said. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Planting the seeds for rewarding careers
    A boost in funding for a number of Jobs for Nature initiatives across Canterbury will provide sustainable employment opportunities for more than 70 people, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The six projects are diverse, ranging from establishing coastline trapping in Kaikōura, to setting up a native plant nursery, restoration planting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand congratulates Tonga's new Prime Minister on appointment
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta today congratulated Hon Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni on being appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Tonga have an enduring bond and the Kingdom is one of our closest neighbours in the Pacific. We look forward to working with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • High-tech investment extends drought forecasting for farmers and growers
    The Government is investing in the development of a new forecasting tool that makes full use of innovative climate modelling to help farmers and growers prepare for dry conditions, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.  The new approach, which will cost $200,000 and is being jointly funded through the Ministry for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Support for fire-hit Waiharara community
    The government will contribute $20,000 towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support those most affected by the fires in Waiharara in the Far North, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan says. “I have spoken to Far North Mayor John Carter about the effect the fires continue to have, on residents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Manawatū’s ‘oases of nature’ receive conservation boost
    The Government is throwing its support behind projects aimed at restoring a cluster of eco-islands and habitats in the Manawatū which were once home to kiwi and whio. “The projects, which stretch from the Ruahine Ranges to the Horowhenua coastline, will build on conservation efforts already underway and contribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to continue Solomon Islands support
    A New Zealand Defence Force and Police deployment to help restore peace and stability to Solomon Islands is being scaled down and extended. The initial deployment followed a request for support from Solomon Islands Government after riots and looting in capital Honiara late last month. They joined personnel from Australia, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago