Articles

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:

Liberty Watch - September 2011

Round-up of civil liberty news for September 2011.

Can you photograph or video the police in New Zealand?

Tech Liberty confirms that it is legal in New Zealand to photograph or video the police at work.

We wrote to both the Police Commissioner and the Minister of Police and asked them "Is it against the law in New Zealand to take photos of video of the police at work?" The Police responded first: "No, not if the photos of video of police at work are taken in a public place, or with the landowner's consent if on private property."

Wellington protest opposing surveillance law patch-up

The group opposing the Search & Surveillance Bill have called for a public protest against the government's plans to retrospectively permit the police to use illegal video surveillance.

We would like to invite you to a protest march next Saturday 1 October at 2pm starting from Cuba Mall in Wellington. Please bring banners, placards, friends and whanau - and pass this message along to any likeminded folks - and help spread the word via Facebook and email lists.

To Train Up a Child

 

Generally the NZCCL does not advocate censorship. Where possible, we believe, people should be free to make up their own minds what to read, and that the process of banning inhibits the free exchange of ideas.

The fact that a book advocates something that is against the law is not a good argument for banning it. Indeed the only way that our justice and legal systems may change is through challenge to them. So books that advocate the death penalty, the legalisation of marjijuana or the abolition of prisons may be raising legitimate debate about fundamental decisions that have informed our legal system for many years.

Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill

Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill

It seems strange that in this society that values so much the rule of law, and one where other government departments must keep stringently to their legal mandate, the New Zealand Police are able to stretch the law to suit themselves, and then require retrospective legislation to legalise their actions.

The police may state that they believed they were working inside the law. However they must have known that that was not the case – papers produced in 2010 to clarify the Search and Surveillance legislation indicated then that in part the Bill was to mandate actions the police had assumed without legal support.

Liberty Watch - August 2011

Round-up of civil liberty news for August 2011.

Police censor political website

As discussed on the telephone a short time ago, this is a request from the New Zealand Police to close down the website greencross.org.nz which is hosted by your company.

Why are the NZ Police calling a web-hosting company in order to try to get a website closed down? The email continues:

Liberty Watch - July 2011

Round-up of civil liberty news for July 2011.

Defining a charity

When the government in its efficiency drive gets around to reorganising the Charities Commission, we hope that it will adopt a definition of charity that is more contemporary than the purpose currently in our 2005 New Zealand Charities Act, namely: “every charitable purpose, whether it relates to the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, or any other matter beneficial to the community.” This purpose was derived from the English 1601 Charitable Purposes Act, in a society where poverty was regarded as a crime, there was no public schooling, and no health or welfare system.

Liberty Watch - June 2011

Round-up of civil liberty news for June 2011.

Liberty Watch - May 2011

Round-up of civil liberty news for May 2011.

Obituary: George Barton

George Barton recently died in Wellington. He was a long time member and supporter of the Council over many years.

The following obituary is as it appeared in the Dominion Post on 28 May 2011 and is used with permission from Peter Kitchin.

Why flag burning counts as freedom of speech

Lawyer Steven Price writes strongly in defence of freedom of speech in the Dominion Post (also on his blog). He was one of the laywers representing Valerie Morse in the Supreme Court when she successfully appealed her conviction for burning a New Zealand flag as a protest at an ANZAC Day dawn ceremony.

He points out that the protest at an ANZAC Day memorial was relevant:

Liberty Watch - April 2011

Round-up of civil liberty news for April 2011.

Prisoners and the Right to Vote

Prior to 16 December 2010 prisoners who had been sentenced to preventative detention or imprisoned for a term of 3 years of more were disqualified from voting, or enrolling to vote.  After this date the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010 disqualified people sentenced to any term of imprisonment after the Act's commencement from enrolling or voting.  Prisoners on remand were still entitled to vote, as were those sentenced to home detention.

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