Locke opposes anti-terrorism amendment Bill

Green Party MP Keith Locke has issued a minority report opposing the foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee report on the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill, tabled today.

“This Bill is largely unnecessary. Thanks to its more independent foreign policy, New Zealand is not subject to the same terrorist threats as Australia, Britain and the US, and therefore does not need to enact the draconian measures contained in this Bill,” Mr Locke, the Greens’ Human Rights Spokesperson says.

“I am particularly opposed to the Bill’s removal of protections for New Zealanders who send funds overseas to support genuine liberation struggles that may also involve armed action as part of their activities. By removing the ‘avoidance of doubt’ clause, the Government is putting good-hearted New Zealanders – who are seeking to assist democracy and protect human rights – at serious risk of being criminalized.

“There is no need for this Bill to create a new crime — namely, engaging in a terrorist act — when such offences are already covered by the existing range of offences such as murder and kidnapping that already carry heavy maximum penalties. This Bill creates an ill-defined offence, and renders those convicted liable to anything up to life imprisonment as a result.

“I am also concerned at the virtual elimination of review by the courts of the determination process by which organizations get designated as terrorist entities, and it makes New Zealand dependent on a UN listing process that the UN itself has conceded is highly flawed.

“Several provisions in this Bill reflect a hasty over-reaction to threats that are not directed at New Zealand, and the Bill infringes the rights of its citizens, for no discernible gain.

“The Greens do support provisions in the Bill that implement the Nuclear Terrorism Convention and the the Convention for the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. But beyond this, the Bill does nothing to improve our physical safety. Instead, it puts some of our civil liberties at risk. That is why I have issued my minority report opposing the select committee’s support for the Bill in its current form,” Mr Locke says.