Submissions

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.

NZCCL Oral Submission on Electoral Disqualification

Oral submission to the Law and Order Select Committee in respect of the Electoral (Disqualification of Convicted Prisoners) Amendment Bill

NZCCL on Electoral Disqualification

New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties submission about the Electoral (Disqualification of Convicted Prisoners) Amendment Bill. Current law says that prisoners given a sentence of longer than 3 years cannot vote. This bill extends that to all prisoners.

The Council opposes this change and recommends that this provision should be removed from the law, not extended.

Tony Ellis on Electoral Disqualification Bill

Tony Ellis, Barrister, has made a submission about the Electoral (Disqualification of Convicted Prisoners) Amendment Bill. Currently prisoners sentenced to longer than 3 years cannot vote. This bill extends that to all prisoners.

Tony Ellis's submission opposes the change and quotes supporting material from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. 

The full submission is attached.

Proposal to amend Wellington City Council Liquor Control Bylaw - oral

Following on from the written submission, the New Zealand Council of Civil Liberties made an oral submission to the Wellington City Council about their intention to impose a city-wide ban on the consumption of liquor in any public places.

Proposal to amend Wellington City Council Liquor Control Bylaw - written

The New Zealand Council of Civil Liberties made a written submission to the Wellington City Council about their intention to impose a city-wide ban on the consumption of liquor in any public places. Of particular concern was that this would give the Police the power to search any vehicle or container in the city without need of a warrant. 

Three Strikes - Sentencing and Parole Bill

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties was invited to make a further written submission on the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill, also known as the "Three Strikes Law".

United Nations Committee Against Torture - Shadow Report

Recommendations from the Committee Against Torture makes numerous recommendations which have wide-ranging implications for the New Zealand Government.

United Nations Human Rights Committee - Shadow Report

In April 2009, NZCCL former President, Tony Ellis lodged a Shadow Report, below, with the United Nations Human Rights Committee for their formal consideration of New Zealand's Fifth Periodic Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill 2009

In its submission, NZCCL indicates that the Bill breaches the 1990 Bill of Rights Act, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Policing Bill

A submission by Tony Ellis on 28 March 2008 to the Law and Order Committee on the Policing Bill.

Reforming the Law of Sedition

The Labour government repealed the sedition law in 2007 after recommendations of the Law Society.

Judicature Amendment (No 3)

In its 2005 submission supporting the increase in the number of Appeal Court judges the NZCCL provides examples of delays in hearings, short cuts in judgements and the costs of using seconded judges. The Judicature Amendment Act (No 3) was passed in 2005.

The submission by Tony Ellis on 22 July 2005 on to the Justice and Law Reform Committee on the Judicature Amendment (No 3) for improvements to the operation of the Court of Appeal is below.

Prisoners’ and Victim’s Claims Bill

In its 2005 submission on the Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Bill. NZCCL urged that the unprincipled Bill be withdrawn in its entirety, as it is in breach of the Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act, and it puts our international reputation in jeopardy.

The Bill was passed into law in 2005.

The submission by Tony Ellis on 8 February 2005 to the Justice and Law Reform Committee on the Prisoners’ and Victim’s Claims Bill, stating that the bill is so unprincipled it should be withdrawn in its entirety is below.

Customs Act Forfeiture and Seizure Powers

NZCCL argued in this 2005 submission that the proposed rights of customs to apply seizure and forfeiture powers to goods even without proof of guilt is in breach of fundamental constitutional statutes, including the Bill of Rights 1688, and the Magna Carta, which still have legal applicability in New Zealand. The rights are also made explicit in Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the US Constitution and many other statutes including the New Zealand Bill of Rights. “…..

Judicial Matters Bill

A submission by Tony Ellis on 20 November 2003 to the Justice and Electoral Committee on the Judicial Matters Bill, which was enacted as the Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel Act 2004.

Terrorism (Bombing and Financing) Bill

The NZCCL Submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence And Trade Select Committee recommended the withdrawal of all the amendments to the Terrorism (Bombing and Financing) Bill.

This submission arose as a result of a number of amendments to the Bill that substantially increased the powers of the state against any organisation deemed to be ‘terrorist’ even though the definition of ‘terrorism’ could encompass legitimate protest. There was no right for the public to make submissions on those amendments, in a move that we labelled an ‘assault on democracy’.

Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill 2001

A submission by Tony Ellis on 9 November 2001 to the Justice and Electoral Committee on the reforming the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill.