Friday, October 8, 2010


Phone-in/Fax-in/Email them!

Contact the members of parliament and demand that they vote
NO on the Search and Surveillance Bill.

Phone: 04-817-999
Fax: 04-471-2551
Email: (insert MP's
name into address)

Some things you can tell Members of Parliament about the
Search and
Surveillance Bill:

1. You do not support the expansion of police powers to
include video surveillance on/in private property.

2. You do not support the expansion of police
powers to conduct searches without warrants.

3. You do not support the erosion of the right to silence
with the introduction of production and examination orders.

4. You do not support the extension of police powers
to some 70 other government agencies including the
Pork Industry Board, Work and Income, the IRD and the
Overseas Investment Office.

5. You do not support any extension in the use of
tracking devices.

Tell them to vote NO on the Search and Surveillance
Bill! We want a different kind of world: one where our
freedom is not sacrificed in favour of Big Brother ‘security’.

Day of Action - 9 October

Wellington - meet at Cuba Mall, 12:00 noon, Saturday 9 October

This Saturday, 9 October a national day of action will take place against the Search and Surveillance Bill, which is due back before parliament by the end of the month. A number of speakers have lined up to speak against the bill including Keith Locke of the Green Party, Kay Brewerton from the Wellington People's Centre and Dr Sandra Grey, Secretary of the Tertiary Education Union. They will be speaking at the Wellington protest starting in Cuba Mall at 12:00 noon. The action is being organised by the Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill - long-time opponents of the proposed legislation, which would greatly expand state powers of search and surveillance.

'Since the Search and Surveillance Bill was first introduced in August 2009, the Justice and Electoral Select Committee has obfuscated the issues surrounding the bill and acted to prevent public input and debate on it', said campaign member Timothy Evetts.

'When the bill was first introduced, it was claimed that it did not grant new powers at all and that fears surrounding new powers were unfounded. But when the interim report came out of the select committee in August 2010, it admitted to a huge range of new and expanded powers. That was only the beginning of the government's obfuscation and obstruction with this bill.' Mr Evetts continued.

In May 2010, the select committee published a press release stating their intention to restrict submissions on their pending interim report to only those people who had given submissions on the original draft of the bill. After significant pressure from campaign members, submissions were opened up to the general public - resulting in 380 new submissions.

Finally, after submissions closed in September the committee quietly notified a handful of submitters that they would be allowed to make oral submissions before the committee. After enquires by campaign members it was found that the committee did not intend to allow anyone else to be heard except those that they had hand-picked. 'It seems clear that the committee has a blatant disregard for public input in the legislative process.' Mr Evetts said.

'Despite widespread opposition to the bill, the committee has persisted in obscuring the facts, obstructing input and ignoring the legitimate concerns of the public. The only course of action left to us to oppose this draconian legislation is action on the streets, which is why we have organised the day of action for this Saturday. We will be making our voices heard loud and clear - that the people of New Zealand do not want this law passed.' Mr Evetts concluded.

In Wellington, the protest march will be starting at the bucket fountain in Cuba Mall at 12:00 noon on Saturday. The campaign is urging all concerned people to come along and join in the action.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day of Action - Saturday 9 October

National Day of Action to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill
Meeting: Bucket Fountain Cuba Street, 12 noon, Saturday 9 October

This is our chance to get out on the streets and fight against the dramatic expansion of state power. We do not want to let this bill pass! We need collective action against state violence and repression on this day.

We cannot lose anymore ground to the advance of totalitarian state control. Let us take back our lives, our workplaces and our communities from state surveillance.

The Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill is opposed to the bill in its entirety. Join us and bring you friends, family, co-workers, and any materials for action - banners, placards, costumes, flags etc.

Organised action in Auckland will be happening on the same day. If you are out of those centres and want to organise actions, please get in touch with us if we can provide any support or assistance.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Making a submission on the Search and Surveillance Bill

General Instructions
  1. Submissions are due 3 September 2010
  2. Submissions can be made on-line through the parliamentary website. You may compose your submission in Word, or equivalent, and: Attach it or Cut n’paste it into the website as specified.
  3. Go to the Select Committee's web site and follow the instructions.
  4. Submissions can be made in hard copy [two copies required] – freepost to Justice and Electoral Select Committee, Parliament, Wellington
  5. You can download the entire ‘Interim report of the select committee’ (a 442-page pdf
    document) here.
Format of your submission
There is no specific way that your submission should look. You should include the following items: your name and contact details, if you want to make an oral submission to the select committee, and whatever you want to say about the bill – this can be general or very specific.

The Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill is opposed to:
  1. Video surveillance by any agency of the state where trespass onto private property isrequired. Video surveillance inside of private property is currently totally illegal. It shouldremain that way. There is no justifiable reason for police or any of the approximately 70 other government agencies in this bill to be able to install a camera in anyone’s bedroom, car, church or anywhere else.
  2. Making video surveillance subject to the same regime as audio surveillance. We say that theintrusion into our privacy by video surveillance is entirely different from audio surveillance.
  3. Any expansion of State power to conduct audio surveillance. Currently the law restricts audio surveillance (bugging) to investigations of serious and violent offences. We say that even now the police abuse that and get warrants when they shouldn’t. It is not enough just to suspect someone.
  4. Making on-going surveillance legally similar to a one-off search. We think that the two arevery different – the privacy implications of on-going surveillance is much more profound than a one-time search.
  5. Any expansion of police or other agency powers of search without warrant.
  6. Any expansion of police powers to erect roadblocks.
  7. The conferring of police powers onto 70+ other government agencies.
  8. The use of ‘plain view’ searches to seize computer systems and data.
  9. The end to the right to silence through the use of production and examination orders.
  10. The ability to conduct remote computer searches.
  11. The ability to compel individuals to provide computer access information.

Please share your views with the select committee on this matter of vital importance!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Public Meeting in Wellington

Urgent public meeting to stop the Search and Surveillance Bill

Monday, 30 August 2010, 7pm
St. Josephs Church, Basin Reserve (just off Brougham St, Mt Vic)

Speakers: Michael Bott, NZ Council for Civil Liberties; Chester Burrows, Justice and Electoral Select Committee chair + Campaign spokesperson.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It’s back! The Search and Surveillance Bill returns

An interim report on the Search and Surveillance Bill was issued by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee last week. The report is an admission that the bill will confer enormous new powers onto 70+ government agencies.

The report confirms that police will get a load of new powers: video surveillance where police trespass on private property will be legal; the circumstances in which audio bugging will be legal will dramatically increased from what it is at present. The threshold for warrantless searches is being lowered, as are the circumstances for setting up roadblocks.

Along with police, some 70 government agencies – from IRD to the Overseas Investment Office and the Pork Industry Board – will be able to apply to conduct video and audio surveillance and install as yet undeveloped surveillance devices into your home, car, community centre, church, marae, school, place of business, etc. While the report indicates that these new powers will be slightly smaller than originally envisioned in the Bill, the overall thrust is the same: a massive increase in state power to surveil ordinary New Zealanders.

Fundamental problems remain with the Bill:
One of the fundamental problems with this bill is that it makes on-going 24-hour-a- day surveillance equivalent to a one-off search. That conclusion is not accepted; the two are very different. The ability to watch and/or listen to people on a continuous basis is not the same thing as capturing evidence at a distinct moment in time.

Secondly, the bill dramatically shifts the centrality of video and audio surveillance to being the first and primary means of law enforcement and crime solving. The privacy implications for ordinary people from video and audio surveillance are profound. The current law says that audio surveillance can be utilized effectively as a last resort when other methods have not worked or are not available. We would argue that even this tight restriction is being abused by police.

Thirdly, the bill makes no differentiation between video and audio surveillance. Again, most people would not agree with that conclusion. The old adage, ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ illustrates well why video surveillance is indeed a far greater invasion of privacy than audio surveillance. It is without hyperbole to say that legalising trespassory video surveillance would be ushering ‘Big Brother’ into people’s living rooms.

The authors of the Bill seek to balance ‘human rights’ with the State’s right to violate them. The State, however is the one making the rules, and as such, there is no ‘balance’. When our ‘human rights’ are not convenient for the police or other enforcement agencies, they are simply and routinely ignored. We believe that the so-called ‘Oversight’ provided by review clauses, the Privacy Commissioner or Ombudsman are simply incapable of holding any of these agencies to account.

Some of the most disturbing provisions:

  1. Warrantless Searches- Circumstances in which ‘enforcement officers’ can search with no warrant are being expanded, now only ‘suspicion’ will be required to conduct a warrantless search.
  2. Plain view searches – Grants ‘enforcement officers’ the right to seize items in plain view. We believe that this will apply to computers and other data storage devices. Once seized these items can be copied in their entirety.
  3. Remote access searches of computers: agencies will be empowered to search computers (including for things like web-based email)
  4. Examination orders: These orders require someone to report to the police for questioning. The right against self-incrimination is totally compromised by this law. You may have to go before a judge to have them determine if you are incriminating yourself, thereby incriminating yourself...a catch-22.
  5. Production orders – allow ‘enforcement officers’ to sit back and order you to produce documents on an on-going basis that you have or will have in future if they suspect that an offence has been committed

At 442 pages long, the ‘interim report’ does not go any way to making this complex piece of legislation easier to understand or more accessible to many New Zealanders.

Get Active and Stop the Bill!
Submissions can be made until 3 September 2010. We would encourage people to send a submission, regardless of how long or short it is, indicating that you do NOT support this bill.

We must take a stand against this horrific invasion into our fundamental freedoms!

The Interim Report can be downloaded here.

Email submissions to: Justice and Electoral Select Committee Clerk

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Revised leaflet available for download

A revised version of the leaflet "What's all the fuss about the Bill?" is available for download here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Search and Surveillance Bill – defeated, for now.

The Justice and Electoral select committee has sent the Search and Surveillance Bill back for re-drafting noting widespread public concern. The committee has asked for a Justice Department report in advance of a re-drafted piece of legislation outlining just exactly how the law will change existing powers. A new bill is expected to be introduced sometime in July or August.

‘We are pleased that the bill has been stopped temporarily, however, our campaign will not cease until the Search and Surveillance bill is defeated. This bill has been a failure from start to finish. It was intended to clarify the law around search and surveillance, but none of the proponents can even agree on what it does or means’ said the Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill Spokesperson Batch Hales.

‘The approach to Search and Surveillance in this country must be based first and foremost on the rights of people against the state, not the other way around.’

‘We want the powers of the police curtailed and tightened, not extended. We want the powers of the some 70 government agencies included in this bill to be removed.’

‘We want submissions on any newly re-drafted bill to be completely re-opened not limited to people who have previously submitted on the bill. A new bill deserves new submissions; it is as simple as that. Any move to restrict or limit submissions will be rejected.’

‘We strongly disagree with the Select Committee chairman Chester Burrows claim to the contrary. The Search and Surveillance bill most certainly DOES extend existing powers of police and other government agencies.’

‘First, police do not currently have any legal authority to install video cameras inside of homes, offices, churches, or other private buildings. The Search and Surveillance Bill would grant the police the power to do that.’

‘The police do not currently have any legal authority to compel people to produce documents. That power rests only with the Serious Fraud Office. The Search and Surveillance bill would extend that power to police.’

‘The police do not currently have any legal authority to compel people to answer questions down at the local police station. The Search and Surveillance Bill would extend that power to police.’

‘The state and its coercive forces are not benign. They must continually be kept in check and their powers limited at every opportunity. We have seen first hand the abuses of power by police and other government agencies. We encourage people to keep a close watch out for more developments on the bill.’

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reports from the Day of Action

Hundreds of people participated in the Day of Action against the Search and Surveillance Bill around the country. Here is some of the media coverage.

Indymedia: Members of Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement along with hundreds of others from various political parties to civil libertarians took part in demonstrations against the current search and surveillance bill in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in late April. More

TVNZ News: There have been protests around New Zealand at police getting extra powers to deal with organised crime. Watch the video

NZ Herald: Protesters took to the streets this afternoon to protest against the Search and Surveillance Bill. More

Radio NZ: More than 100 protesters have marched down Queen Street in central Auckland, demonstrating against the government's search and surveillance bill.More

Images from the NZ Press Association

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

24 April - Day of Action Against the Bill

Wellington Protest March: Saturday April 24, 12.30pm, meet at Cuba/Manners Mall corner.

Auckland Protest March: Saturday April 24, 2pm, grassy area opposite the Town Hall, Queen Street.

Christchurch Action: Saturday April 24, 1pm at Cathedral Square

The Search and Surveillance Bill, currently being debated by Parliament, is a massive threat to civil liberties in New Zealand. It grants the Police and other state agencies vast new powers to monitor, search and detain individuals for minor and nonexistent infringements.

Saturday 24 April is a national day of protest action against the Bill. Defend your freedom: Join the protest!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Public Meeting in Wellington

What's all the fuss about the Search & Surveillance Bill?

Thursday, 8 April 2010 at 7pm
Old Government Building Lecture Theatre 2 (VUW Law School), Wellington

Chief justices, the privacy commissioner, Amnesty International, the Council for Trade Unions and the Human Rights Commissioner have all come out in opposition to the Search and Surveillance Bill saying it is a major threat to human rights and a major attack on fundamental freedoms. This bill is now before parliament and will be reported back on 1 May. Find out what is going on.

Speakers include: Dr. Warren Young, deputy president of the NZ Law Commission and Michael Bott, Chairman of the Wellington Council for Civil Liberties.

The moderator for the programme will be Dr. Sandra Grey, Senior Lecturer, School of Social and Cultural Studies, Victoria University.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What is this blog about?

The Search and Surveillance bill now being considered by the New Zealand Parliament must be stopped.

If passed into law, it would abolish two fundamental concepts of western law: the right to silence and the right not to incriminate oneself (the right not to participate on one's own prosecution).
It also increases State powers to search and surveil people and places.

Public submissions on the bill were heard in October 2009. Out of the 42 submissions only one was unreservedly supportive of the bill. Those speaking against the bill include the Privacy Commissioner, the Human Rights Commission, NZ's Chief Justice, Lawyers, Unions and advocacy groups.

GET INVOLVED IN THE CAMPAIGN! Email us at for more info!