Thursday, October 06, 2011


The Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill has just passed its third reading. The final stages of the debate were pushed through under urgency, and took all of two hours. There were strong speeches by Keith Locke, Rahui Katene and Hone Harawira in defence of civil liberties - and a lot of excuses from Labour about why they were voting for it. While the debate was going on, I took the opportunity to read through all the submissions on the bill. There were 438 submissions - and only 6 in favour. So, we have a government of the 1.5%, stomping on the human rights of the rest of us.

Ironically, at the end of his third reading speech, Labour's Charles Chauvel called for an entrenched Bill of Rights Act to prevent further discredits to Parliament like this one. Then he voted for it. No, it doesn't make much sense to me either.

As Keith Locke pointed out, the prospective powers in the bill apply far beyond the police, to customs, fisheries, CYFS, internal affairs, and the SIS. For the next six months, any of these bodies will be able to get a warrant to search your house, then stick a camera in your bedroom. Unlike a wiretap or audio bug, there will be no limits on what they can do with the information, or requirement that irrelevant records be destroyed. If they feel like it, they can stick the footage on YouTube. That's the law our parliament just passed: one which lets any government body videotape you in your home without oversight, and post the footage on the internet. Today, they really have earned their reputation.