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NRT: A blank cheque

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 pm, September 24th, 2011 - 17 comments
Categories: police, same old national - Tags:

No Right Turn on the blank cheque that National wants to give to the police to cover their past mistakes.

Thanks to the Labour Party, the government’s draft Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) (AKA Rule of Law Repeal) Bill is now available [PDF]. The bill is very short, and is basically a blank cheque for police. Whatever video surveillance they’ve done, now or in the past, is declared lawful, except in regards to the Urewera 18 case. And they get to keep doing whatever they’re doing for the next year, with no requirement for warrants or to prove that such surveillance is necessary.

Its hard to see how such a bill can pass the test of being “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”required for consistency with the BORA. Free and democratic societies do not give their police a blank cheque to spy on the general populace whenever and however they want. They require warrants, and for more intrusive surveillance measures (such as using cameras where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy), some test of necessity and proportionality to the crime. The relevant part of the Search and Surveillance Bill contains such safeguards. And that is what the government should be passing, with prospective force. As for their past surveillance activities, the police knowingly broke the law, and they should pay the price – not just in lost cases, but in sackings and resignations. A lawless police force acting under colour of authority is simply a criminal gang by another name, and it must be held to account.

17 comments on “NRT: A blank cheque ”

  1. I am surprised that the Government is not considering Andrew Geddis’ suggestion that they should enact the provisions of the Search and Surveillance Bill that relate to the issuing of warrants for video surveillance. It has been through a select committee process, it has the support of Labour and it could be done as a simple cut and paste job. The proposal has safeguards including Judicial overview and limitations on police powers.

    It seems that the Government want to make this issue political so that they can claim Labour is soft on crime.

    What is the bet that no changes are made to the proposed bill and the current carte blanche bill is introduced?

    If so this will show the cynical politics in play here. The Nats are relying on a good old raw meat law and order dispute to garner support.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      It seems that the Government want to make this issue political so that they can claim Labour is soft on crime.

      I’m sure that they do want to do that but I’m also sure that they want to give the police unfettered powers. It is, after all, in their psyche as Right Wing Authoritarians and dictators.

  2. How about a trial of surveillance cameras in parliament. It may have the following benefit:
    Catching MPs out before they commit a crime?
    Find out who might be shagging who?
    Who is ripping off parliamentary perks?
    What is being planned with selling further assests (currently housing stock, energy companies)?
    Who is over eatting or snacking inbetween two – three course meals?

    Turn the tables and then we will know what MPs get up to.

    • Treetop 2.1

      Oh and the next place I would put the video surveillance is at the Office of the Commissioner of Police and PNHQ if this is different to bull shit castle.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2

      Even better , how about cameras in the lobby of the PMs office with one showing the lift and the stairwell so we can see on the internet who comes and goes. And what hours Key keeps

      • Treetop 2.2.1

        A camera in the PMs drink cabinet, then we can see who goes to the debating chamber under the influence of alcohol.

        Should MPs be allowed to pass laws when under the influence of alcohol?

  3. Bill 3

    “A lawless police force acting under colour of authority is simply a criminal gang by another name, and it must be held to account.”

    What about the NZ military in Afghanistan acting outside measures of accountability? Parallels?

  4. KJT 4

    Is it just me.

    But why am I the only person who thinks that the police, who breach citizens privacy and break the law should, be before the courts already.

    What is even more concerning is more than 50 current cases. That is 50 occasions where the police knowingly broke the law.

    • Jenny 4.1

      ….the police knowingly broke the law, and they should pay the price – not just in lost cases, but in sackings and resignations.


      In line with KJT’s comments. Those who break the should be facing prosecution. Not just be disciplined by their employer – “in sackings and resignations.”

      Why is this not being done?

      Even if they weren’t disciplined by their employer. Any other group of individuals would face prosecution for knowingly breaking the laws of the land.

      Why are the police immune from prosecution when they break the law?

      Is this immunity from prosecution for illegality by the police a widespread policy?

      What other illegal acts may the police commit that are immune from prosecution?

      • Treetop 4.1.1

        I just hope that people who top police brass have crossed (illegally filmed, made defamatory statements against, failed to adequately investigate a person’s complaint) take out a civil case against the Office of the Commissioner of Police and that a bank account is opened so the public can make a donation towards legal fees as no one is immune from the police using entrapment.

        Jenny you ask many relevant questions. David Trappitt police guidelines and best practise is not being adhered to.

        Some sort of Royal Commission is also required to clean up historical police complaints as an individual does not have the resources or influence. People like Patrick O’ Brien and other undercover cops may have closure and individuals like me.

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    The film Ned Kelly graphically portrayed the corruption, bullying and ciminality of the Victorian police in the 19th century, and how they misused their power to persecute people they had taken a dislike to. When not pusuing personal racist and sexual agendas the police acted to promote the interests of ‘the empire’, which was controlled by international money lenders, ahead of the interests of the common people.

    Despie a petition signed by 38,000 people ( a very large portion of the population of the time) the Victorian government had him hanged. He had been robbing banks and returning money to common folk, and had been burning mortgage documents.

    A different country, a different time, same kind of rules.

  6. burt 6

    This is the same Idiot/Savant that said “We won, you lost, suck it” when Labour wrote themselves a blank cheque for election advertising.

  7. tc 7

    yup that brighter future is the flames coming from torching due process and state assets combined with big business and the rural sector warming their already toasty hands off the workers/taxpayers brazier fuelled by generous taxation, emissions policy to name a few.

    Scary thought is the NZ electorate was stupid enough to vote them in 2008 and since then the messaging and manipulation has got even slicker and more one sided.

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