Review of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012

Closed 16 Dec 2016

Opened 8 Nov 2016


The Law Commission and the Ministry of Justice have completed a joint review of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012.
The Act controls how and when the Police and other government agencies can search people or property and carry out surveillance. 
The joint review report found that the law has generally been working well and does not propose a major overhaul of the Act. However, it does recommend amendments to make the law more transparent and accessible, and to ensure it keeps pace with technology.
Some of the recommendations address specific gaps in the powers available to Police and the Review also recommends changes to clarify how new kinds of technologies should be dealt with.  For example, it recommends that a warrant should be required to search electronic devices such as smartphones, except in urgent situations.
The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, presented the report to the House of Representatives on January 30, 2018.
The full report and details about the review can be found on the Law Commission's website. 
The Government will consider its response to the review, which may include introducing legislation to amend the Act.


  • NZ public sector
  • NZ private sector
  • General public


  • Human rights
  • Privacy
  • Law enforcement
  • Search and Surveillance Act 2012