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.

Falun Dafa and Wellington City Council

This article outlines instances of systemic discrimination against the Falun Dafa Association by the Wellington City Council over the last two years. This discrimination, involving refusal for the organisation to participate in various parades and other public events, appears to be motivated by the desire to maintain good relations with China, but is in effect condoning and supporting China’s repression of the organisation within China.

Current Articles

These are the civil liberties issues we are currently involved in.

Antisocial test for children backed

NZ HERALD 5:00AM Friday Jan 25, 2008

Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro strongly supports measures to vet young children for targeted help if they show antisocial behaviour.
She says vetting will not only mean that kids who need help get it and possibly prevent them getting into more trouble or crime later but their fellow pupils will get a better education…

New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties chairman Michael Bott raised concerns the plan would take the state further into private family matters.