Bill retains end to right of silence

NZ Herald Nov 5, 2010
People being investigated by police over serious fraud-related offences or gang crimes will no longer have the right to remain silent, under a Government bill. And refusing to give information on a gang murder or fraud-related extortion, could earn a jail sentence of up to one year. The Search and Surveillance Bill was reported back to Parliament yesterday with significant changes, after an outcry over the sweeping powers it would have given to up to 70 Government agencies. But Parliament’s justice and electoral committee has kept provisions overriding the right to silence, and giving police, Customs and Internal Affairs the right to break into homes to bug and secretly film suspects. But the agencies can use these powers only if they are investigating offences punishable by prison terms of seven years or more, or for particular Arms Act offences. The original bill would have enabled police to seek an examination order – removing the right to silence – when investigating any offence that carried a jail term.