A cut and paste gone wrong

Andrew Geddis proposed that instead of passing a law to suspend the Supreme Court ruling on Police video surveillance, that Parliament could just instead pass into law the provisions of the Search and Surveillance Bill as reported back by Select Committee.

Labour adopted this idea as their policy and drafted a bill which he said did this. He whined that the Government refused to grant leave for it to be introduced. But there was a very good reasons for this. Poor Charles cut and paste from the wrong version of the Search and Surveillance Bill. He used the bill as introduced, not as reported back by select committee. This is an incredibly stupid and basic error to make.

Chris Finlayson pointed out:

“Charles Chauvel’s draft SOP for the Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill demonstrates the danger of taking parts of draft legislation out of the context in which they were drafted,” Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson says.

“Mr Chauvel has, apparently inadvertently, drafted his SOP using large sections of the Search and Surveillance Bill as introduced to Parliament, rather than as reported back from Select Committee last year,” Mr Finlayson said. “This has created some serious problems in what he proposes.”

A number of problems are evident in the SOP posted by Mr Chauvel on the Labour Party blogsite:

• Mr Chauvel’s clause 7(1) refers to a period not exceeding 72 hours. But this was in the Search and Surveillance Bill as introduced, not as reported back. The Select Committee altered it to 48 hours, to reduce the period of time a surveillance device is first used without obtaining a surveillance device warrant. This increases surveillance powers, something Mr Chauvel previous expressed concern about.

• Mr Chauvel’s clause 8(3)(a) uses the wording of the Search and Surveillance Bill as introduced, not as reported back. He would require a residual warrant be disclosed, even though the Select Committee ruled this out.

• Mr Chauvel’s clause 11 is completely deficient. He uses clause 50 of the Bill as originally drafted, leaving out important additions made by the Select Committee, particularly section 42AA dealing with restrictions on some trespass surveillance and use of interception devices.

What a fail. But I love his response in the Herald:

Mr Chauvel returned fire, saying the Government could have improved his SOP, rather than spend time scrutinising it and putting out a press release.

“It’s a shame we have a minister who would prefer to take the approach of chipping at the opposition, rather than looking at how we can improve the law.”

Oh yes how dare the Government point out the Opposition cut and pasted the wrong version of a bill, and that Labour were proposing a law change that would be worse than what the select committee had recommended.

Talking of the Bill, it is online here. If you wish to make a submission, you only have until midnight.

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