Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More petty authoritarianism

Christchurch City Council wants to enact a bylaw banning gang patches and colours and granting police the power to "arrest people hanging out in gangs in the city". Like Rotorua's plan to punish criminal offenders without trial using the Trespass Act, the move is driven by the police approaching the city council with a plan to limit freedoms, and as with Wanganui's similar efforts earlier in the year there are significant legal barriers. As Dean Knight pointed out in the Wanganui case, bylaws can only result in a fine, not arrest, while s155 (3) of the Local Government Act 2002 requires all bylaws to be consistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. There are significant issues here with the BORA-affirmed freedoms of expression and association which mean that such a bylaw would be highly unlikely to survive a BORA challenge. Sadly, that doesn't seem to stop the police from trying.

I'll do some digging with the OIA and try and find out more about this. It will be interesting to see whether I get another phone call from the police as a result as well...


Hey, it could be worse. They could be trying to ban billboards in Auckland ... oh wait, they're doing that too.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 12/14/2006 10:06:00 AM