Attorney-General David Parker on human rights versus national security

Attorney-General David Parker says the balance between national security and human rights is “not quite right” in New Zealand.

He told Newshub Nation that he's confident there will be changes to the Security Agencies Law, which is currently under review. 

“I think the Law Commission will come back with suggested amendments," he said. "I don’t think the balance is quite right at the moment.

"We’ve got a problem in New Zealand that it’s a little bit easy in our system, which only has one house of Parliament, to somewhat rashly override  the Bill of Rights."

He was asked about a current High Court case, where a woman is fighting to have her passport reinstated.

Under the 1992 Passports Act she’s not allowed to be in court nor have a lawyer present, and no members of the public or media are allowed to attend.

Mr Parker said that while he couldn’t comment on the specific case, the Law Commission review would look at the issues of accountability and transparency.

“It’s one of those issues that is left hanging by the review of the security agencies law a couple of years ago," he said. 

"The Law Commission is looking into it and reporting back to Parliament. You have got to get that balance right. On the one hand, we have duties to some of our security agencies that we get this information from overseas from, and on the other hand you have to be fair in the process.”

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