20 Sep 2011

PM confident of support over covert filming legislation

9:30 pm on 20 September 2011

Prime Minister John Key says he is confident support for urgent legislation on covert filming will be forthcoming.

The Government says it will pass legislation next week in response to a Supreme Court ruling that the use of hidden cameras in the 2007 Urewera police raids was illegal.

Since the ruling, police have suspended covert video surveillance, which Mr Key says has potentially significant implications for law and order and is not acceptable to the Government.

The Government says the ruling has thrown into doubt evidence in dozens of other operations and court cases and has prevented police from continuing to use covert surveillance.

Only one political party, United Future, has said publicly it will support the Government's urgent legislation.

The Maori Party and the Greens are both unlikely to lend their support.

Mr Key says he will negotiate with the Labour and ACT parties, but doubts the Government will struggle for numbers.

"I'm sure the other political parties realise the significance and importance of the law change. Without this law change, some criminals are definitely going to be set free in our community and people that should be brought to justice won't be."

Labour leader Phil Goff says his party is not about to let criminals off the hook - but there would be conditions to its support.

"That legislation has got to go through some sort of select committee process - it might be a shortened process, but I've seen too much of urgency in this House where Parliament rushes stuff through, doesn't think it through, creates more problems that it solves."

ACT parliamentary leader John Boscawen says his party has not yet finalised its position.

"We won't be rushed on this issue - we've been briefed and we're now considering the information we've received."

The Prime Minister is not ruling out the possibility of a shortened select committee process, noting it has been done for other legislation.