26 Sep 2011

Police surveillance bill to go before select committee

10:33 pm on 26 September 2011

The Government has confirmed it will hold a shortened select committee process to allow public submissions on proposed police surveillance legislation.

The Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill will be introduced and debated under urgency in Parliament on Tuesday.

A Radio New Zealand political reporter says the legislation will effectively roll back a recent Supreme Court ruling which found the use of hidden cameras by police in the 2007 Urewera raids was illegal.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson says the Government has consulted with legal experts and agreed to a select committee process to allow further input from the public.

Mr Finlayson says the bill is a necessary patch-up to allow surveillance operations of serious wrong-doing to continue. It would allow police to resume video surveillance under the same rules that they operated under before to the Supreme Court ruling.

The Attorney-General believes the case for a temporary legislative fix is compelling and hopes the Government can find the numbers to pass it.

Prime Minister John Key says without the legislation, police surveillance cameras will have to remain switched off and serious drug cases will be put at risk.

Mr Key says there is no guarantee that the Government will find the numbers, but is confident good progress is being made.

Mr Key says the ACT Party has only agreed to support the bill at its initial vote and the Labour Party must also consider its position.

The Justice and Electoral select committee has until next Monday to hear submissions and report back to Parliament, with the House expected to go back into urgency for the bill next week.