A reasonable compromise

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

has forced the Government to back down over controversial video surveillance laws.

After insisting the legislation go before a select committee before agreeing to support it, Labour has secured changes to more contentious aspects of the proposed law. …

Labour will now lend its support after winning concessions from Attorney-General Chris Finlayson. It is understood ACT is also willing to support the revised legislation. The Green, Maori and Mana parties are all opposed to the legislation.

In pending cases, courts will be left to determine if evidence is admissible. To prevent convictions being overturned, the law that applied at the time of the verdict will stand.

The legislation will only apply for six months – not one year as National hoped.

It means the next government must make the passing of the Search and Surveillance Bill, which will replace it, a priority.

“Over the fence” surveillance – where cameras film property from outside its boundaries – will have to be “reasonable” as set down in the Bill of Rights Act.

And only police and the Security Intelligence Service will be allowed to carry out “trespassory surveillance” – when a warrant is used to place secret cameras on private land in the investigation of serious crimes.

Looks pretty reasonable to me, with an interesting compromise on the retrospectivity. There is still a degree of retrospectivity in that the it states the law at the time of previous verdicts will apply. The restriction on who can do a “trepassory surveillance” also seems a good improvement.

Kudos to Labour for some good changes.

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