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Next time you want to tape a politician…

August 7th, 2008 by Madeleine

I will resist the urge the comment on the content of the recent taped conversations, well I might say *yawn* what political party does not contain MP’s that have ideas about where they would like their party to head in the future, in fact to swipe my 16 year old’s comments, there would be something wrong with an MP who didn’t have such opinions. I want to briefly comment on the legality of taping politicians at political conventions – well taping conversations in general.

As you know I am currently completing a bachelor of law so I have some knowledge of how to find out what is legal and what is not and as it happens I have looked into this particular subject in some detail as, umm, lets just say, it has come up in conversation over the years.

Reports that National are seeking legal advice and may seek to pursue charges are unlikely to fly because the basic rule of taping conversations is to make sure you yourself are privy to the conversation, as long as you are you can tape away to your heart’s content with no one else’s knowledge or consent. It is 100% legal. Section 216 B of the Crimes Act 1961 is your ‘how to’ guide to tape conversations legally (of course ethically and morally it can be highly questionable). So whoever the secret taper(s) are in this instance they can sleep soundly knowing there will not be any knocks on the door from the constabulary or any legal bills coming their way over this matter at least.

For those of you who don’t want to click the link to the Crimes Act the nuts and bolts are that you get into muddy water when you tape conversation you are not privy to or that you are just close enough to overhear but those having the conversation think you cannot hear them. If you have the desire to tape those kinds of conversations, join the police force and get a warrant, otherwise steer clear.

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