Submissions

Submission: Covid-19 Response (Fast Track Consenting) Bill

The Council for Civil Liberties has made a slightly late submission to the Environment Select Committee on the Covid-19 Response (Fast Track Consenting) Bill

Submission: Covid-19 Public Health Response Act

After complaints that the government rushed through the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act with barely 16 hours for a selected group to make submissions (see ours), the government has now sent it to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee for post-enactment consultation.

Submission: Screen Industry Workers Bill

The NZ Council for Civil Liberties made a submission to the Select Committee considering the Screen Industry Workers Bill.

We submitted that the bill's attempt to limit union membership was an imposition on the Bill of Rights protected right of freedom of association

Submission: Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill

The Council is disappointed that the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill continues the fiction that voting is not a basic human right. We do not believe that acknowledging the rights of some people in prisons whilst rejecting the same right for other people in prisons can be based on values or principles.

We recommend the rights of New Zealanders who are in prisons be restored by repealing section 80(1)(d) of the Electoral Act.

Submission: Vaping Bill

Submission: TIPC emergency service access to location information

The Council has made a submission to the Privacy Commisioner concerning the proposed extensions to the Telecommunications Information Privacy Code. These extensions would:

Oral submission: APEC 2021 Bill

Following up on our written submission we also appeared before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee to make up an oral submission. Here are our opening remarks (lightly edited):


I'm Thomas Beagle and I'm the chairperson of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties.

We're an incorporated society who are a watchdog for rights and freedoms in New Zealand.

Submission: APEC 2021 Bill

The Council opposes the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC 2021) Bill.

As the strongest democracy in APEC, New Zealand has a responsibility to lead. Instead, this bill proposes for us to adopt anti-democratic measures which would drag us down to the standards of the least functional.

Submission: Public Service Legislation Bill

The Council makes 13 recommendations in our submission on the Public Service Legislation Bill. Our recommendations include

Submission: Algorithm Charter

The Council welcomes the government's Algorithm Charter, and has many suggestions for an effective process that puts people's rights first.

Against pre-crime - Control Order Bill oral submission

We made the folllowing oral submission to the Select Committee overseeing the Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. (See our earlier article.)


My name is Thomas Beagle. I'm the Chair of the New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties.

Our submission is going to be rather short.

Submission: Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill

We strongly oppose the Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill.

The very purpose of it, to apply sanctions without sufficient evidence, is directly opposite to the point of civil liberties and the right of New Zealanders to be protected from state overreach. 

Submission: Arms Legislation Bill

The NZ Council for Civil Liberties has made a submission (pdf) about the the Arms Legislation Bill.

While not opposed to the general thrust of the bill, we wanted to call out two elements of the "fit and proper" person vetting used to decide whether someone can get an firearms license.

Submission: Electoral Amendment Bill

We are disappointed in the Electoral Amendment Bill more for what it doesn't do than what it does.

We support the Bill's intention to make it easier for eligible people to vote. The right to vote is a key part of our democracy and is protected in section 12 of the NZ Bill of Rights Act. However there is more to it than just making enrolment available up until election day or expanding the type of places where people can vote.

Submission: Abortion Legislation Bill

We have made our submission about the Abortion Legislation Bill to the committee (see attachment). We support the passage of the Bill with amendments:

The New Zealand Council of Civil Liberties believes that abortion is a health issue for a pregnant person not a crime and that the law should change to reflect this.

Our submission touched upon a number of topics including:

Submission: Zero Carbon Bill

The NZ Council for Civil Liberties has made a submission (PDF) about the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill.

Submission: Privacy Bill

Text of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties submission re the Privacy Bill.


Privacy in 2018

The NZ Council for Civil Liberties has long accepted that privacy is one of our core civil liberties and sees that protecting the privacy of New Zealanders is part of our mission.

Privacy, and the associated control of personal data and how it is used, is vital to a sense of personal autonomy. The feeling of being watched and controlled is antithetical to people having the freedom to make their own choices and live their lives how they wish.

Submission: Against the crime of blasphemy

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties has made the following submission to the Crimes Amendment Bill.


The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties supports the repeal of section 123 of the Crimes Act, thereby abolishing the crime of blasphemous libel.

Submission: End of Life Choice Bill

Submission

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties encourages Parliament to pass the End of Life Choice Bill

Submission: NZ Intelligence & Security Bill 2016

Text of our submission on the NZ Intelligence & Security Bill to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee.

Submission: Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill

Expressing our concern at the use of "terrorism" to include legal or only trivially criminal political protest.

Submission: Child Protection [Child Sex Offender Register] Bill

INTRODUCTION

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties Inc [NZCCL] welcomes the opportunity to present a submission on this Bill, and I make this submission on behalf of the Council.

This Bill contains a proposal which is designed to reduce the risk of serious harm to children from known child sex offenders living in the community.  This is to be given effect to by the creation of a child sex offender register.

The Regulatory Impact Statement acknowledges that there is limited research evidence available from other jurisdictions about the effectiveness of such registers.  Accordingly no estimate of the value of the anticipated benefits has been possible.   It seems clear that this is virtually a “blue skies” approach, and one might be excused for thinking that, without the provision of substantial additional assistance for those whose names will appear on the register, the proposal is directed towards significant further restrictions on a small group of individuals for whom there is in general little public sympathy.

Submission: Immigration Amendment Bill (No. 2)

In relation to the Immigration Amendment Bill (No. 2), NZCCL is concerned at aspects that impinge on rights and protections contained in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (“BoRA”) and the Privacy Act 1993.  NZCCL welcomes the opportunity to discuss these with the Committee. 

The aspects of the Immigration Amendment Bill that the Council has concerns about are:

  • the failure to confirm that Privacy Principle 6 (PP6) does apply to personal information that will be relied on in making absolute discretion decisions on the grant of visas under section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009 (the Immigration Act);
  • changes to the search regime that allow for search of a dwellinghouse without a warrant;
  • power to use force to collect biometric data from an individual.

 

NZCCL submission to Constitutional Advisory Panel

New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties

Submission to Constitutional Advisory Panel

1   Introduction

The objectives of the New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties (“The Council”) are set out as in its Constitution, and are as follows:

3.0 OBJECTS

3.1 The objects of the Council shall be to:

(a) assist in the maintenance of civil liberties including freedom of speech and assembly,

(b) advance measures for the recovery and enlargement of civil liberties,

Submission: Video Camera Surveillance Bill

1.0 Introduction

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties (NZCCL) presents our submission in relation to this Bill, and I make this submission on behalf of the Council.

This Bill has been introduced as a matter of urgency following the decision of the Supreme Court in Hamed & Ors v R [2011] NZSC 101, which held that the covert video camera surveillance undertaken by the New Zealand Police in this instance was unlawful.

Concern has been expressed that there are a further total of some 90 additional operations that are either in progress or are before the Courts where similar covert video camera surveillance has been undertaken, and there is uncertainty as to the degree of acceptability of evidence obtained in that manner.

 

2.0 Issues for Consideration

NZCCL has identified 4 issues that merit comment -

  1. the assumption that S.21 of the Bill of Rights Act 1990 can be over-ridden with impunity;
  2. the assumption that the Police, who are responsible for upholding the law, can operate outside the law without express authority, and without any awareness on the part of the public; 
  3. the need for extreme urgency; and
  4. by proposing legislation with retrospective application, there is a reduction in the integrity of the process and, by implication, of those who endorse that legislation.

 

Submission on Credit Reporting Privacy Code Amendment No 5

This submission, from the New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties (NZCCL), concerns the addition of further powers to credit rating agencies proposed in Amendment 5 of the Credit Reporting Privacy Code 2004. Together with Amendment 4 this amendment brings the New Zealand Privacy Code in line with that of Australia. They are designed to provide the credit rating agencies with 'positive' data relating to people's financial transaction history, rather than the 'negative' reporting of the past, which related only to a person's debt history, where the debt had been referrred to a collection agency.

Amendment #5 in effect gives the credit rating agencies the right to collect personal transaction data relating to payment for utilities such as power and telecommunications, as well as credit card transactions, for a period of two years. This data can show not only where a person is in arrears in payments but also where they have a positive payment record.

While the inclusion of 'good' debt management as well as 'bad' debt management is an improvement on data that shows only a history of defaults on payment, NZCCL is concerned that such information can lead to a detailed but inaccurate picture of a person's financial position, and can also be used by debt agencies to target vulnerable people with instruments that can lead to increased debt and financial hardship.

Submission: Sentencing (Aggravating Factors) Bill

Oral submission to the Law and Order Select Committee in respect of the Sentencing (Aggravating Factors) Amendment Bill.

From the Bill: "The purpose of this Bill is to ensure that the fact that an offence was committed against a Police officer or prison officer acting in the course of his or her duty is taken into account as an aggravating factor at sentencing."

Submissions on the Criminal Procedure Reform Bill

Tony Ellis has made a submission on the Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill, raising some issues with the way that the courts treat the intellectually disabled. The full text of Tony Ellis's submission is attached to this article.

Submission: Review of Official Information Act

The Council's submission to the Law Commission's review of the Official Information Act.


1. Aims and Purposes

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties is a keen supporter of democracy and the rule of law. We believe that openness and transparency is a cornerstone of any democratic society – how can we meaningfully elect governments if we cannot find out what they are doing?

The Official Information Act has been an important enabler of this openness in New Zealand. It allows any interested person to request information from the Government as a matter of right, and thus allows the people to properly provide oversight.

We use the Official Information Act frequently in our work and, while we appreciate it, we still find that many government agencies do a poor job of honouring their commitments under it. Sometimes they are slow, or deliberately obtuse in their answers, or seem to be trying to find any possible excuse to withhold information.

We welcome this review and hope that the Official Information Act, and the corresponding culture of openness, will be expanded and strengthened.

NZCCL Submission - revised Search & Surveillance Bill

This is the Council's second submission about the Search & Surveillance Bill.

Summary: It is the view of NZCCL that personal freedoms should be entrenched in law, that all actions by the police or any other government agency should be done where possible without diminishing those freedoms, and where necessary should be justified only as a last resort. We believe that this bill should be completely withdrawn.

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