Articles

New edition of classic NZ Civil Rights Handbook released

The latest edition of Tim McBride's classic New Zealand Civil Rights Handbook has just been released.

WCC backs down on city-wide liquor ban

The Wellington City Council has dropped plans to impose a city-wide liquor ban after strong public opposition. The current ban on consuming or carrying liquor has been extended from the inner city to Newtown and Mt Cook.

The NZCCL made a submission on the issue as did 603 others, with 76% of submissions opposing the ban.

Tech Liberty on Copyright/Filesharing

Tech Liberty has made a submission on the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill.

This is the replacement for the earlier s92A of the Copyright Bill. The original version was flawed on a number of grounds and highly offensive to civil liberties with its lack of due process ("guilt upon accusation") and intrusions into privacy.

The new bill is significantly better but Tech Liberty remains concerned that internet disconnection continues as a possible punishment.

How technology changes privacy online

How much do you publish about yourself online?  What can people find out about you by looking at your photos?

Tech Liberty writes an article about how improving technology can mean that data that was safe to share in the past can now reveal more than you expect.

ACTA: Bad for Civil Liberties

Tech Liberty has written an article about the ACTA treaty's implications for civil liberties in New Zealand.

It lists five areas for concern:

Free Speech for Corporations in US

The US Supreme Court declared on 21 January 2010 in a landmark decision that corporations have all the rights of free speech that citizens have enjoyed since 1791.

Search & Surveillance Bill to be Redrafted

The Government has announced that the over-reaching Search and Surveillance Bill is being redrafted.

This is at least a partial victory for the large number of people and groups who opposed the original bill as being an unwarranted expansion of government power.

The new version should be available in July/August.

Sunday TV program article about the Search & Surveillance Bill

The Sunday program does a Big Brother episode about government spying and the Search and Surveillance Bill.

Is it protection or prying? SUNDAY investigates legislation which will dramatically increase the state's authority to peep into your private lives. Just who is reading your emails, listening to your phone conversations and where does it stop? Should we be afraid? One legal heavyweight says it's "creepy" and warns it is open to abuse.

Surveillance: current law

Tech Liberty surveys the ways that the government can eavesdrop on people.

A follow-up article will cover search laws.

Ninety one thousand dollars for a year in prison

$91,000 it takes to keep a man in prison.  I wonder what else could be done with that money.

UN examines NZ government's performance on civil and political rights

On 15 and 16 March 2010, the government's performance in implementing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was considered by the UN Human Rights Committee during its 98th session, which was held in New York. The 

Read more at converge.org.nz

Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2006

On 21 October 2009 the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act came into force. This law enables the government to confiscate property and compel people to provide documents and other evidence even where there are no criminal prosecutions. This is done through the sleight of hand of pursuing the forfeitures as ‘civil’ proceedings.

Tribute to Hugh Price

Hugh Price, who died on 28 December 2009, is best known and recognised for his contributions to writing, publishing and education over more than fifty years.  For these accomplishments Hugh received the NZ Order of Merit and a D.Litt (honoris causa) from Victoria University.

That was the public face of this unassuming and quietly spoken man. What is less well-known is his lifelong commitment to human rights and civil liberties.  He played active roles in campaigns against the death penalty, as well as in promotion of the rights of women, gays, the elderly, and other minority groups, both in New Zealand and internationally.  He abhorred secrecy in all its forms, whether it related to selective reporting by the press or the workings of government.  His clear and unequivocal principles were expressed through every facet of his life.

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

http://techliberty.org.nz

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:
12.30-1.30
Tuesday 24 November
Lounge
St Andrews on The Terrace
ALL WELCOME

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).

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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.”

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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.

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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

THE DOMINION POST: 26/09/2007

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.

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