27 Sep 2011

Parliament passes first stage of surveillance bill

10:11 pm on 27 September 2011

Parliament has passed the first stage of the Government's police surveillance bill under urgency.

Debate on the Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill to allow police to continue using hidden cameras began on Tuesday evening.

The bill effectively sets aside a recent Supreme Court ruling, which found the use of hidden cameras by police during the 2007 Urewera raids was illegal.

The legislation would last for 12 months, while a permanent solution is found.

The Labour Party believes the scope of the Government's bill is too wide and instead wants Parliament to pull out relevant sections of the stalled Search and Surveillance Bill and pass them into law.

Labour argues those provisions strike a balance between police powers and safeguards for the public. But attempts to table its legislative fix was blocked by Government MPs earlier on Tuesday.

However, Labour voted for the legislation on Tuesday evening, as did ACT.

The legislation will now be sent to Parliament's justice and electoral select committee for consideration. Hearings are due to start on Wednesday morning.