Articles

Letter sent to IPCA re police officers hiding their identities

We have written to the Independent Police Complaints Authority to ask them to investigate the police officers who deliberately hid their identities by sharing badge numbers while evicting protesters in Auckland in January 2012 (see One News report).

We will report back any response we get from the IPCA.

Dear Independent Police Complaints Authority,

I am writing to you on behalf of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties.

Liberty Watch - March 2013

Round-up of civil liberty news for March 2013.

Criminal Justice

Breath testing amendment bill breaches Bill of Rights

The Law society has spoken against that the Land Transport (Admissibility of Evidential Breath Tests) Amendment Bill which proposes to amend section 77 of the Land Transport Act so that when a person fails an evidential breath test, but elects to take a blood test, the result of the breath test will be admissible against them in a prosecution if a blood specimen cannot be taken “for any reason”.

Liberty Watch - February 2013

Round-up of civil liberty news for February 2013.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Help for wrongly convicted

A leading forensic scientist is launching a charity for people who have been wrongly convicted.  Dr Anna Sandiford, an expert defence adviser at the 2009 acquittal of David Bain, has held initial talks with supporters from backgrounds such as lawyers, legal academics and professional investigators.  She plans to launch the organisation this year fearing outdated legal processes and cuts in legal aid funding are leading to a rising number of wrongful imprisonments.

NZCCL monthly meetings now open to public

The Committee of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties has decided to make its monthly meetings open to anyone who wishes to attend.

A typical meeting includes:

  • Discussion of the various projects that members are engaged in
  • Chat about the civil liberties issues of the day
  • Responding to correspondence 

If you wish to bring up a particular issue, we ask that you communicate this by email to the secretary@nzccl.org.nz beforehand.

 

Liberty Watch - January 2013

Round up of civil liberty news for January 2013.

 

Criminal Justice

Inmates awarded $453,875 compensation

New Zealand prisoners have been awarded more than $450,000 in compensation since 2005, of which about $47,000 has been paid to their victims and $27,000 in other payments, including fines.

To date, just $133,070 has been paid to prisoners, following a claims process for compensation awarded for any act or omission by or on behalf of the Crown.

Liberty Watch - December 2012

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Prison smoking ban ruled unlawful

A judge has ruled a prison smoking ban is unlawful.  Justice Gilbert said a blanket smoking ban did not serve the purpose of ensuring custodial sentences were safe, secure, humane and effective, and was not ''reasonably necessary'' to maintain the safety of prison staff and inmates.  ''In my view, the ban falls outside the scope of the rule making power under section 33 of the Corrections Act,'' he said

The role of the GCSB

GCSB in the spotlight

In an article in the Herald on Tuesday December 18, Keith Locke raises some awkward questions about the Government Communications Security Bureau and its association with the Five Eyes electronic spying network.

He discusses some of the dangers of our involvement with the Five Eyes network, the cost of the service, the lack of accountability of the GCSB, and thepotential threat it poses to our international relations.

Family Court Reform Bill

Family Court Proceeding Reform Bill

The relevance of the Leveson media inquiry to New Zealand

The report of the Leveson inquiry into the ethics, culture and practice of the UK press has now been released. With our own Law Commission also looking further at media regulation, a number of local commentators have asked what relevancy the Leveson findings can hold for New Zealand.

Alan Ringwood, legal adviser to the NZ Herald, handily summarises the findings:

How the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement would undermine New Zealand’s sovereignty

 

Auckland will play host to the 15th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) between 3 and 12 December when hundreds of negotiators from 11 countries will attend. 

Liberty Watch - November 2012

Round up of civil liberty news for November 2012.

CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Drugs detection in schools

Ensuring drug sniffer dogs continue to detect illegal drugs in schools is essential in dealing with young people's addiction and keeping them in education, a leading Northland youth counsellor says.

Liberty Watch - October 2012

 

Liberty Watch returns with a round-up of news for those interested in civil liberties:

 

Police brutalise Upper Hutt teens

Stuff reports that Police in Upper Hutt mistreated two teens (aged 16 and 14) after falsely identifying them and taking them to the cells for up to 36 hours:

Democracy failing in Canterbury

The Press has a powerful editorial explaining why the Government's decision to continue suspending democracy at Environment Canterbury is so wrong:

Book Review: Flying Blind by Roger Brooking

FLYING BLIND by Roger Brooking

Review by Batch Hales

Liberty Watch - April/May 2012

Round up of civil liberty news for April/May 2012.

Guest blog: what's wrong with pre-employment credit checks?

In these days of higher unemployment and tougher competition for jobs, a disturbing trend is beginning to emerge in which potential employers ask candidates to submit to various checks as part of the interview process - drug tests, police checks, credit checks. Yes, credit checks.

Record keeping and human rights

“...the concentration of power and the subjection of individuals will increase...in the same proportion as their ignorance.” 

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Part II, Book IV

Liberty Watch - March 2012

Round up of civil liberty news for March 2012.

Complaint made re Immigration NZ's flouting of the Public Records Act

No Right Turn has been documenting the way that Immigration NZ has been deliberately refusing to record reasons for immigration decisions because "...including rationale just opens us up to the risk of judicial review and ombudsman complaints". 

Search and Surveillance Bill Passes

The Search & Surveillance Bill has now been passed into law. 

NZCCL committee member Thomas Beagle spoke to Breakfast on TVNZ about it.

Liberty Watch - February 2012

Round-up of civil liberty news for February 2012.

Liberty Watch - January 2012

Round-up of civil liberty news for January 2012.

Police defend censorship of website

Back in August 2011 we wrote about the New Zealand Police censoring the Greencross site - a website arguing for the legalisation of marijuana for medical uses. The police claimed that the censorship was because the website was breaking the law, but refused to identify any law that was broken and have not laid any charges or applied for a court order to get the site closed. We said:

Liberty Watch - Nov/Dec 2011

Round-up of civil liberty news for November and December 2011. There is also our yearly review.

Liberty Watch Yearly Review 2011

Liberty Watch - October 2011

Round-up of civil liberty news for October 2011.

NZCCL Public Lecture and AGM - 6pm, Nov 3rd

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties will be holding its AGM followed by a public lecture.

 

Public Lecture

The Importance of Protest by Steven Price

A look behind the scenes of the Valerie Morse flag-burning case - how the law in NZ and elsewhere protects protesters and whether it goes far enough.

Steven Price is a Wellington barrister and law lecturer specialising in media law and member of the Supreme Court defence team for flag-burner Valerie Morse.

6:30pm

National Security vs Personal Privacy

Cynthia Laberge was the 2008-2009 InternetNZ Senior Research Fellow in Cyberlaw at Victoria University of Wellington. 

Why are we encouraging the police to break the law?

As the agency responsible for upholding the law it is obvious that the police have a duty to operate within the law.

It is now public knowledge that the police in New Zealand have been illegally using video surveillance for some years.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court's decision in the Hamed case is fairly scathing of the police's deliberate flouting of the law. The Chief Justice wrote:

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