ACTA - Sign the Wellington Declaration

A group of people opposed to ACTA held an alternative open conference called PublicACTA in Wellington on April 10th, 2010. The outcome of this meeting was the Wellington Declaration - a statement about what is wrong with ACTA and how it can be fixed. 

Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill

The law on searches and surveillance is inconsistent. Over the years all kinds of agencies have acquired various powers to enter your home or other private premises to gather evidence to support legal action.

Tech Liberty - a new defender of civil liberties in NZ

Tech Liberty an organisation that whose goal is to defend civil liberties in the digital age has generated quite a lot of press recently to two main areas:

  • the internet filter the NZ government is implementing
  • the secret ACTA discussions

Review of Legal Aid

NZCCL raises its concerns with the Ministry of Justice's Legal Aid Review.

Search and Surveillance Bill

The Search and Surveillance Bill has very few measures to protect people’s civil liberties and human rights.

Ban on Gang Insignia

The Wanganui District Council's Prohibition of Gang Insignia Act 2009 and the subsequent WDC bylaw breaches basic liberties.

Even if the by-law is successful in stemming gang activity within the Whanganui district (and NZCCL has considerable doubt that that will be the case) the by-law itself breaches basic liberties. The argument that the end justifies the means was used by the US to justify the use of torture in Iraq and Afghanistan. This legislation legalises intimidation and harassment of gangs on the grounds that gangs themselves may intimidate or harass other people.

AGM with Keith Locke

Please join us to hear Keith Locke speak on "The Future for Civil Liberties in New Zealand" at the NZCCL AGM on Tuesday 24 November 2009

Please join us to hear Keith Locke speak on "The Future for Civil Liberties in New Zealand" at the NZCCL AGM:
Tuesday 24 November
St Andrews on The Terrace

Aussie govt wants NZ criminal records

20 July 2009 | Source: AAP

New Zealanders with criminal records could be prevented from travelling across the Tasman after Australian authorities raised concerns over "the issue of NZ criminals".

NZ anger over seizure of Saddam's stepson

THE AGE: Wellington July 7 2002

New Zealand Muslims are furious that NZ intelligence agencies may have tipped off United States authorities about the family history of an Iraqi-born Aucklander, prompting his imminent deportation

Law student wins civil liberties case

Wyvern, University of Essex, November 2004

A Masters student from the Department of Law has successfully argued that a convicted murderer held in a New Zealand jail was held in conditions that amounted to physical torture.

Tony Ellis, who wrote his dissertation on prisoner's rights, represented Christopher Taunoa and eight other prisoners who were kept according to Paremoremo prison's Behaviour Management Regime (BMR).


Gay sperm donors turned away

RADIO NEW ZEALAND 10:36AM Saturday January 21, 2006

Fertility clinics are turning down sperm donations from gay men because of Australian regulations aimed at curbing the spread of HIV, a fertility specialist says.

A Wellington man says he has been discriminated against after he was rejected by a sperm bank as a donor because he is gay…

Gang Colours in Christchurch

SECTION 14: Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Police in Christchurch want a bylaw to ban gang colours in Christchurch and mayor Garry Moore is behind the move “150 percent”…
Council of Civil Liberties chairman Tony Ellis said, “People have freedom of expression and freedom of movement, and those are quite fundamental human rights.”


New Zealand government orders probe into prisoner's baby

BANGLADESH NEWS NET: Monday 5th March, 2007 (IANS)

The minister in charge of New Zealand prisons has ordered an inquiry into how a convicted rapist fathered a child by smuggling his semen out of jail, news reports said Monday…

Michael Bott, chairman of the Council for Civil Liberties, said that prisoners' partners were entitled to reproduce and conjugal rights should be considered for all prisoners.


Skin tests proposed for drinking drivers

ONE NEWS: 6:20PM Wednesday April 11, 2007

ONE News has discovered police are looking at the radical new way of measuring blood alcohol levels. They are also proposing to fingerprint those over the limit.

The skin test device reads a person's blood alcohol level by firing infrared light through the skin…

Tony Ellis of the Council for Civil Liberties says taking fingerprints is not going to stop people drinking and driving.

Lawyers slam reforms as attack on fair hearing

NZ HERALD 5:00AM Tuesday May 08, 2007

Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Civil rights threat may shackle Government

NZ HERALD 5:00AM Thursday Jun 14, 2007

The Government's main response to the Ombudsman's damning report on the transport of prisoners is under threat, with civil libertarians warning any attempt to introduce waist restraints will meet legal action.

The report said prisoners were often transported in inhumane conditions. It called on Corrections to redesign prison vans so that guards could properly supervise inmates, and prisoners could be kept safe from accidents and from each other…

Cleavage complaint likely to fail


Wellington civil liberties lawyer Tony Ellis said he did not believe Ms Simpson had solid grounds to argue she was discriminated against.
Though rules that prohibited excessive displays of cleavage might adversely affect one section of one gender group, they were a result of prevailing moral standards.


Civil Liberties fears online ID system


An online identity verification system recently proposed by the Government could be manipulated against the public, says New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties chairman Michael Bott.

Internal Affairs wants public comment on the voluntary system, which would let people prove their identity online and could include the use of biometric technologies such as fingerprint-readers…


Retailers get behind spray ban

NZ HERALD 5:00AM Saturday Feb 16, 2008

Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday announced a raft of proposals, including a ban on the sale of spray cans to those under 18 and introducing a new offence of tagging under the Summary Offences Act….

Council of Civil Liberties president Michael Bott rubbished the measures as ill-thought-out laws designed to "create the perception of fighting tagging at the ballot box". The anti-tagging proposals were "pandering to the rednecks" in an election year.

Civil liberties council slams Taser decision

NZPA: Thursday, 28 August 2008
The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties has slammed the "rubber stamping" process for approving the police use of Taser stun guns…
It was "tragic" that the people who were itching to use the weapon had been the ones who devised and were in charge of the campaign for the Tasers, he said.

Are we creeping towards a surveillance state?

NZLawyer, issue 98, 3 October 2008

Bott said that a proposed power for police to detain people went beyond any power previously introduced either in New Zealand or in any major Commonwealth country. “I think it’s quite sweeping. What is happening in the name of the law and order campaign is human rights and civil liberties are being auctioned off without any appreciation of what we are giving away, why in essence we have these protections, and their historical origins. We’re having a jackbooted jump back to the past where the citizen has minimal protection against the might of the state.”

Police anti-terror squad spies on protest groups

By NICKY HAGER and ANTHONY HUBBARD - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 14 December 2008

POLICE TEAMS set up to identify terrorism threats and risks to national security are spying on protest and community groups, including Greenpeace, animal rights and climate change campaigners, and Iraq war protesters.

Police officers from the Special Investigation Group (SIG) have carried out surveillance and used a paid informer to gather information not just about planned protests but the personal lives and sexual relationships of group members…

Editorial: Let's screen early for offending

NZ HERALD 5:00AM Friday Jan 25, 2008

Law advisers question domestic violence move

NZ HERALD 4:00AM Tuesday Feb 10, 2009

A leaked Law Commission paper has questioned whether a new measure to allow police to issue "on-the-spot" protection orders for up to five days to prevent domestic violence is necessary…
The law change will allow police called to domestic arguments to immediately issue an order requiring a person to stay away from the house for up to five days if it is necessary to ensure the immediate safety of another person in the household…

UN expresses concern about Tasers in NZ

NZ HERALD 11:08AM Thursday May 21, 2009

The United Nations Committee Against Torture says it is "deeply concerned" about New Zealand police adopting the Taser stun gun, as it releases a growing list of worries about this country's justice system...

Human rights lawyer Tony Ellis said the UN committee's 2004 report contained eight recommendations, but the latest contained 18.
There were clear defects and given the large number of recommendations the Government needed to give serious consideration to address those, he said.

Concern over new jail cells: Civil Liberties concerned about humaneness of proposal to house prison inmates in shipping containers

NZCity, NewsTalkZB 21 June 2009

Council of Civil Liberties chairman and barrister Michael Bott says …it raises a whole different set of concerns around double bunking and things like humane lighting, heating and toilet facilities.

Mr Bott says forcing prisoners to build the accommodation essentially makes them part of a labour camp.


Libertarians slam new law forcing witnesses to speak up

NZ HERALD 4:00AM Saturday Jul 04, 2009

A new bill that would force people to reveal relevant evidence will leave citizens without protection and give the state total power, say civil libertarians.

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties has labelled the Search and Surveillance Bill - recommended by the Law Commission and tabled in Parliament on Thursday - a "chilling piece of legislation" that takes away a person's right to silence unless convicted of an offence.
Main changes recommended in the bill include:

NZCCL in the News

NZCCL appears in the news from time to time, these are some of those articles.

United Nations Special Rapporteur

In 2008, the New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties and its former President, Tony Ellis lodged a complaint with the United Nations Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers against Elias CJ, Tipping J and Blanchard J and the New Zealand Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

‘Three Strikes’ legislation

The Sentencing and Law Reform Bill 2009 advocates that a ’Three Strikes’ policy is introduced in New Zealand. This policy would provide an automatic prison term of 25 years without parole for a third offence (excluding minor offences). The Bill advocates sentences out of proportion than the crime committed and focuses on punishment rather than rehabilitation. The policy advocated in the Bill has only little potential effect in protecting the community, and would lead to many people being constrained in prison to no good effect either to them or to the community.