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Govt Must Protest Howard’s License to Piracy
was Keith’s reaction to the unveiling by the Australian government of a plan to force any ships within 1000 nautical miles of Australia to provide a detailed report of their journey and their cargo.
Keith Locke called on the New Zealand Government to protest strongly against John Howard’s proposed Maritime Identification Zone, which could legitimise piracy on the high seas.
“It is deeply concerning that John Howard is claiming the right to demand information from, and even intercept, ships travelling well outside Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone,” Mr Locke, Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson said.
“It is an affront to the Law of the Sea, which guarantees free passage, and it can’t be tolerated.
“Mr Howard is also challenging our sovereignty because the 1000 mile cordon reaches deep into New Zealand waters, even touching the coast at Milford Sound.
“The sovereignty of South East Asian nations, particularly East Timor and Indonesia, is also infringed. As a part of the plan announced yesterday, Australia will be provocatively putting warships into waters claimed by East Timor around the oil rigs in the Timor Sea.
There would be chaos if the Howard model were adopted by other nations, Mr Locke said.
Tightened Terrorism Law Could be Misused by Politicians
warned Green MP Keith Locke on December 15. He went on to say that proposed changes to terrorism law that extend the ban on financing to ‘non-designated’ terrorists and expand the definition of such funding could easily be misused by politicians.
Justice Minister Phil Goff has said proposed amendments to the Terrorism Suppression Act that push the prohibition on financing beyond ‘designated’ terrorist groups are necessary because of the “fluidity” of international terrorism and to fulfil UN obligations.
“People and organisations can easily be mislabelled as being ‘terrorists’, as the Zaoui affair has shown,” said Mr Locke, the Green Party’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson.
“According to the Bill’s explanatory note, even paying the rent of an alleged terrorist will be a crime.
“Some politicians wrongly believe that Ahmed Zaoui is a terrorist. If the Government was to agree with them, the Dominican Friars, who are currently hosting Mr Zaoui, could be charged under this amendment and jailed for up to 14 years.
What’s the Rush?
On 14 December Keith Locke said he was strongly opposed to any attempt to rush through changes to the Security Risk Certificate procedure in the Immigration Act.
“The application of the Security Risk Certificate to Ahmed Zaoui has resulted in so many violations to his human rights that any law change can only follow a wide process of public consultation that absorbs all the lessons of his case,” said Keith, the Green Party’s Human Rights Spokesperson.
“Mr Zaoui’s release from prison could be an opportunity for the Government to reflect on the last two years and change direction towards a more just and humane national security and immigration system, but instead it is trying to find a quicker and more efficient route to the same unjust outcome.
“Clearly a rushed law change would be dangerous while the Government continues to deny its failure to give Mr Zaoui due process, the chance to see evidence against him or the right to bail.
“Ominously, the Prime Minister now wants to take away the bail option in obvious contravention to the centuries-old principle of habeas corpus. Hasn’t she any shame after unjustly keeping an Algerian democrat in jail for two years without charge?
“On top of this, the Government is persisting with an appeal to the Supreme Court to stop Mr Zaoui’s human rights applying in the Security Risk Certificate review process.
“Altogether, this is a dangerous push to expand Executive power at the expense of long-standing judicial oversight in security matters. This will undermine the civil liberties of us all.
“The Green Party wants the Security Risk Certificate section of the Immigration Act to be repealed. New Zealand coped perfectly well without it prior to its implementation in 1999 and there is still no compelling reason why regular, apolitical criminal law cannot deal with terrorism.”
and and see his article on the bill under Analysis, below.
More Needs to be Done for Agent Orange Victims
. On 14 December the Greens said that the Government’s Agent Orange apology was not enough.
Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley was delighted the Government had apologised to Vietnam veterans for the way in which successive governments downplayed and denied the effect that exposure to Agent Orange had on their health and that of their families, but also said:
“However the Government’s response to the Health Select Committee inquiry into the effects of Agent Orange does not go far enough. The Government should offer full medical treatment for veterans’ children suffering adverse health effects linked to dioxin exposure, plus a programme to monitor the effects of exposure to dioxin.
“At present children suffering from four illnesses only – spina bifida, cleft lip, adrenal gland cancer and leukemia – are offered fully-funded medical care yet we heard evidence during the hearings that veterans’ children suffer from a variety of conditions they believe can be attributed to their parents’ exposure to dioxin.
“Even if there is only limited or suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to dioxin and a disorder, veterans and their children deserve the benefit of the doubt and should be offered full medical treatment.”
. On 10 December Keith Locke defended the Supreme Court decision to bail Ahmed Zaoui against National and NZ First attacks, saying “It is disgraceful that Winston Peters, a lawyer, wanted the Supreme Court to deny Mr Zaoui the long-held right to freedom under the principle of habeas corpus.
“Habeas corpus arose many centuries ago to stop political leaders of Mr Peters’ ilk from arbitrarily punishing people they didn’t like,” said Keith.
“Mr Peters and National spokesperson Tony Ryall, are shamefully suggesting legislation to over-rule our Courts on a fundamental principle of justice – the right to be released if there is no sufficient evidence against you.
“I am also deeply disappointed that Mr Peters and Mr Ryall don’t have a modicum of compassion for Mr Zaoui, who suffered two years unjustified imprisonment with ten months of that time in solitary confinement.”
Peaceful and Just Giftgiving
. It feels good to give, but how can you be sure that what you give is doing good and not harm? For beautiful gifts you can be sure will give twice – a fair price to the producer and delight to the recipient – check out some of the
Trade Aid range
and visit the nearest store.
To make a better choice on more widely traded items go to
Spend for Peace
and then on to the
Just Shoppers’ Guide
, where there are archived shoppers’ guides:
- The Nestle Boycott;
- Sports Shoes;
- Dioxin and PVC;
- Laundry Detergents;
- Updates on Nestle and on Tuna;
- Free Trade and the Clothing Industry;
- The Health and Politics of Soft Drinks;
- A Mixed Bag – Nike; Bananas; TNC’s; Lobbying; Organic Food;
- Genetically Modified Foods;
- Updates on clothing;
- Batteries, and Updates on GMFs; Buy Nothing Day;
(En)Act in Haste; Repent at Leisure.
Writing in the New Zealand Herald on 9 December, Keith warned against pushing through the Identity (Citizenship and Travel Documents) Bill, and adding a ‘Zaoui clause’. The article is reproduced below, and archived at
Greens – ‘Zaoui clause’ in hard-hearted bill will punish citizens and migrants
” ‘Zaoui clause’ in hard-hearted bill will punish citizens and migrants
The Identity (Citizenship and Travel Documents) Bill may be rushed through Parliament before Christmas despite being panned by most submitters to the Government Administration Select Committee.
Business people are worried that extending the qualifying period for citizenship will put off skilled migrants. Migrant communities are up in arms at its inherently discriminatory nature. Civil libertarians are worried by the ‘Zaoui clause’, which uses the same vague concept of ‘national security’ that is currently detaining Ahmed Zaoui to justify giving the Internal Affairs Minister the power to cancel any New Zealand citizen’s passport.
This Bill is another example of the Government getting carried away in the ‘War on Terror’.
As many submitters told the Select Committee, you should be able to pick out a terrorist after three years permanent residence, so why extend the qualifying period for citizenship to five or, for those on temporary permits, ten years?
Furthermore, time here on business, work or student permits will no longer count; apparently you don’t commit to New Zealand until you are a permanent resident. This logic is faulty. Isn’t someone beavering away on a work visa at least as committed as someone who has just got residence on arrival under the points system and is maybe not working at all? Shouldn’t we be rewarding temporary permit holders who are excelling here in business or at university? This Bill will probably mean skilled migrants will opt for countries with more welcoming policies. For instance, across the Tasman new residents can become Australian citizens, and get a passport, in just two years.
The Committee heard how receiving a New Zealand passport is a big deal for migrants from poorer countries. Migrants from rich counties don’t usually find a delay too much of an issue because they can still travel freely on their existing passports. But people on Third World passports find it difficult to get a visa to enter developed countries.
Previously it wasn’t so bad if you were from a poor country but married to a New Zealand citizen. Then you could get a Kiwi passport after two years; now the Government wants you to wait five. The New Zealander is effectively discriminated against as well, as they won’t be able to go abroad with their spouse for five years.
The most heart-rending stories were from refugees, who commonly don’t have any passport and have to go through extra hoops just to get permanent residence, let alone citizenship. Our Government does give refugees temporary travel documents, but hardly any country will accept them. In Australia and America such documents are not even recognised for transit. Refugees are often desperate to go overseas to see family members displaced by conflict; we shouldn’t be making that even more difficult for them.
Refugee organisations have also expressed concern at a ‘national security’ clause in the Bill that will allow the Internal Affairs Minister to refuse travel documents or passports without fully explaining why. Applicants could be knocked back on the basis of rumours they not told about.
The ‘national security’ provision extends well beyond refugees. In fact, the Government will be able to use it against New Zealand citizens, possibly even on the basis of their politics, as happened back in the Cold War when the American Government confiscated pro-Communist singer Paul Robeson’s passport and the Australian Government did the same to left-wing journalist Wilfred Burchett.
Such measures reverse the normal judicial process. Instead of being tried, convicted and then punished, you are punished when your passport is taken away and then you have to go to the High Court to get it back. Even then the information against you may be ‘classified’.
This ‘security’ provision is unnecessary because if someone is actually conspiring to commit a crime against the State they can already be brought to court under existing criminal law and judges can then confiscate the accused person’s passport.
Since the Identity Bill had its First Reading in Parliament, the Government has introduced a further amendment that would deny automatic New Zealand citizenship to children born here to visiting parents. Apparently this would put us in line with Australia – but it would also put us out of line with America and Canada, which grant an automatic right of citizenship to all people born on their soil.
The only substantive reason advanced for this change is that there are pregnant foreigners seeking our passports for their offspring by flying in, having their babies, then flying out again. Yet this has happened in no more than one or two cases a year. Longer-term non-residents do have babies here, but they are usually women on work, student or business visas. To me it’s preferable that such babies born here do have New Zealand citizenship so they qualify for the free or subsidised post-natal health care the rest of us got as infants. We certainly shouldn’t bring in a blanket ban because inevitably some babies would suffer when their hard-up, non-resident parents cannot afford such treatment.
We are not an uncharitable people. I believe this Identity Bill and the wider policy of which it is a part are too hard hearted to be New Zealand law.
Keith Locke MP represented the Green Party in the Government Administration Select Committee’s considerations of the Identity Bill.”
JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP
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