Surveillance Bill review should strengthen rights, not erode them

The review of the Search and Surveillance Act should be focused on strengthening Kiwis’ rights, not extending dodgy surveillance powers, the Green Party said today.

This afternoon National announced the terms for the mandatory review of the Search and Surveillance Act by the Ministry of Justice and the Law Commission, which will report back to the Government on whether the law is fit for purpose. The Act gave Police and a laundry list of other agencies power to covertly record conversations and install video cameras in private spaces.

“We are concerned that the review is geared towards extending search and surveillance powers rather than constraining them,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“There is no evidence that justifies broadening existing search and surveillance powers under this Act, which was already notorious for eroding civil liberties and giving sweeping powers to more government agencies than ever before.

“It’s also concerning that the review will consider the Police’s ability to use the capabilities of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), considering that those agencies’ powers are currently under review.

“Security agencies need to prove to New Zealanders that they can be trusted, not the other way round,” said Ms Turei.

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