Oral Question – Zaoui – Govt Appeal against Human Rights

7. Keith Locke

(Green) to the Attorney-General: Did the Government take into account the fact that Ahmed Zaoui has been in jail without charge for over 22 months when it decided to seek a review of the Court of Appeal decision that Mr Zaoui’s human rights must be considered in the pending review of his security status; if not, why not?

Hon Margaret Wilson

(Attorney-General): The matter of the detention was held to be lawful by the Court of Appeal, but it is now the subject of an appeal to the Supreme Court by Mr Zaoui. As those matters are all likely to be heard at the same time, the appeal does not unnecessarily prolong the detention.

[Of course, Mr. Zaoui’s appeal against his continued imprisonment has nothing to do with the review of the Security Risk Certificate and could not hold up that review. Only the Government’s appeal against the High Court decision that his human rights should be taken into account in the review can hold up the review as that process cannot go forward until either the Supreme Court reaches a verdict or the Government withdraws its appeal. Ms Wilson is wrong.]

Keith Locke

: Is the real reason that the Government is going to the Supreme Court to cover up the incompetence of the Security Intelligence Service; and does the Attorney-General think a man should languish in jail, on evidence that he is not allowed to see, just to protect the pride of the Security Intelligence Service?

Hon Margaret Wilson

: No, in answer to the first point. In answer to the second, the purpose of the appeal is to clarify precisely the nature of the rights of the respective parties.

Dail Jones

: When lodging the appeal to clarify the Court of Appeal’s decision, did the Government take into account the fact that Mr Zaoui could return even to Algeria, according to last night’s TV programme, if he so wished, to be reunited with his relatives, and that his wife could then join him there and they could live happily ever after, as set out in that TV programme; what does she have to say in regard to that?

Hon Margaret Wilson

: That was not a relevant consideration in the decision whether to appeal, but the member is undoubtedly correct that Mr Zaoui could leave New Zealand whenever he chooses. His detention is not an imprisonment. It is essentially a three-sided box, which is not an uncommon situation in these terms. He can leave at any stage he chooses.

[Her comment that ‘he can leave at any stage he chooses’ displays contempt for the plight of refugees. Like all asylum seekers or accepted refugees in New Zealand custody, Mr Zaoui does have the right to return to torture and death in his homeland. See

Wilson in Wonderland with Zaoui comments


During this question interjections from David Benson-Pope were heard supporting Ms Wilson’s statement. When later questioned he did not, and presumably could not, suggest anywhere that Mr Zaoui could go to safely. See

Scoop – Labour Cabinet Minister Tells Zaoui — Get On The Plane!


Keith Locke

: Will the Attorney-General now reconsider her decision to appeal after the Television New Zealand documentary last night, in which the former head of a French anti-terrorist unit admitted that there was no evidence Mr Zaoui was a terrorist, and that he had been the victim of anti-Islamic hysteria at the time?

Hon Margaret Wilson

: I was working last night and did not see the documentary, but no, there will be no reconsideration of the decision to appeal.

Dail Jones

: Is the Attorney-General aware that there appears to be an effort in the Auckland area, and in New Zealand generally, to raise money to bring Mrs Zaoui to New Zealand in a similar fashion to the way Mr Zaoui has come here, and then to try to gain the sympathy of New Zealanders to get both of them to stay here and, of course, for their children to come here afterwards?

Hon Margaret Wilson

: No, I am not aware of that.

[And neither is anyone else. Because it is a false allegation. However there are efforts to raise money to help bring witnesses to New Zealand to appear before the Security Risk Review – you can send cheques (made out to: Human Rights Foundation: for Ahmed Zaoui legal expenses for witnesses) to:

Human Rights Foundation

PO Box 106343

Auckland City

Keith Locke

: Is the Government’s projection of itself internationally as an upholder of human rights being seriously damaged when Amnesty International is now taking full-page advertisements in the newspaper, criticising the Government for holding Mr Zaoui in prison for over 22 months without charge, in denial of human rights conventions?

Hon Margaret Wilson

: No, I think this country does have an honourable reputation, and also record, in that area. I would note, in fact, that the delay, as it is seen, or the length of time it has taken, is because there is, in fact, an opportunity for those rights to be fully heard.

[Those rights have been heard, most of the delay is caused by the Government appealing decisions in attempts to prevent his rights being taken into account.]