I asked the New Zealand Police this week: “Is there any law that allows any authority in New Zealand, such as the police, to obtain fingerprints or photo etc., without a person’s knowledge, even though a crime has not been committed? Is there a plan to gain this information from Kiwis, as is being done in the UK?”
“The Police Act 1958 (s 57) allows a member of police to take photographs, fingerprints, palm-prints, and footprints, of a person who is in custody and charged with an offence.
The Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995 empowers police to take bodily samples (eg blood samples) during the course of a criminal investigation. This Act has been in force for over a decade.
A new Immigration Bill was tabled in Parliament on 8 August 2007, by the Immigration Minister (The Hon David Cunliffe). This can be viewed on the internet at https://www.parliament.nz – under the Bills tab. This is a 350 page document, and the Police have not fully reviewed it. We understand that it allows for biometric data to be taken from new immigrants, but that New Zealand citizens would be exempt from that process. There is provision
for all incoming travellers to New Zealand to be subject to face scans, for comparison with passport photographs. We do not know if, or when, this legislation will be passed by parliament.
From: Cathryn Warburton
Police National Headquarters
P O Box 3017