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Local Government bill inconsistent with NZBORA rights, says Attorney-General

08 August 2017

The Local Government (Freedom of Access) Amendment Bill appears to be inconsistent with section 22 (liberty of the person) of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and cannot be justified under section 5 of the NZBORA, a report by Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC says.

The Report of the Attorney-General on the bill is required by section 7 of the NZBORA.

The bill would amend the Local Government Act 2002 and its purpose is to give local councils powers to ensure that occupy-style protests do not limit the public's access to council land. It mainly does this by widening the scope in which an enforcement officer may remove property.

The bill also creates warrantless arrest powers for non-compliance when a person is required to give identifying details, and for obstruction of an enforcement officer or agent of a local authority.

A Member's Bill, the bill was introduced by National MP Jonathan Young.

The Attorney-General's report says the power to arrest without warrant is arbitrary, in that it appears to be without reasonable cause.

"It is unclear why this power is required, as it does not appear to be directly linked to the overall purpose of the Bill."

Last updated on the 16th September 2019