Time needed for public submissions on anti-terrorism bill – Locke

Green MP Keith Locke today called for a full public submission process on an anti-terrorism bill which is being rushed through Parliament.

The Government recently added a major new section to the Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill redefining terrorism and determining the designation of terrorists, the freezing of their assets, and terrorist recruitment.

“It’s scandalous that all citizens are not being given the right to make a submission on a bill that will so endanger our civil liberties,” he said.

Mr Locke’s proposal for a two-month period for submissions was turned down by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee. Instead half a dozen selected groups will be given less than one week to produce written submissions.

“There is no need for this legislation to be rammed through by Christmas. New Zealand isn’t riddled with terrorists. In fact, we haven’t seen any since the French bombed the Rainbow Warrior 16 years ago.

“Under the broadened definition of terrorism, New Zealanders could be jailed for fourteen years for donating to workers on the sort of political strikes we’ve seen in the past – such as against visiting nuclear warships – on the grounds that the strikes were causing ‘major economic loss’,” he said.

“If you loaned a hoe to a youth digging up GE crops you could also be in for a jail term if that youth was defined as ‘seriously damaging property of great value’. New Zealanders giving active support for the armed activities of virtually any national liberation group, including Mandela’s ANC under apartheid, or Xanana Gusmao’s East Timor resistance, would be similarly breaking the law.

“The process of designating terrorists and terrorist groups denies natural justice. A person can be designated as terrorist for five years without ever having the right to see the secret evidence against them provided by intelligence agencies or other governments,” said Mr Locke.