Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More on rule of law repeal

The government's move to oust the rule of law and retrospectively validate unlawful police surveillance is attracting the expected backlash. Both Andrew Geddis and Dean Knight have excellent pieces explaining why this is so odious. The government isn't just proposing to establish a framework allowing video surveillance in the future (which is OK with proper judicial oversight which balances the intrusiveness of such surveillance against necessity, just as they do for wiretaps) - they're planning to interfere in incomplete criminal trials, changing the rules of evidence in favour of the prosecution so as to secure convictions and protect those which have already been handed down, and do this under all-stages urgency. Grant Illingworth [audio] goes further, saying that it effectively repeals the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, a fundamental attack on our constitution.

Of course, the government can only do this if they can get the votes. The bill has already been condemned by the Greens, the Mana and Maori parties, which leaves the government relying on the votes of either ACT or Labour for a majority. In both cases, the move goes against everything the parties stand for, and will not sit well with large portions of their respective support-bases. If these parties hold fast, then the government will not be able to pass this bill, and will be forced to abandon its more odious elements. Sadly, I think one or other of them will betray us.