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NZ Government Assets To Be Frozen?

30 October 2001

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NZ government assets to be frozen?

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Kia ora,

Did you hear Phil Goff discussing the government's amendments to the Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill on the radio yesterday? The amendments will allow for the assets of 'terrorists' to be frozen immediately. In a discussion about the difference between freedom fighters and 'terrorists' Goff said that terrorism is about "killing innocent bystanders, who have nothing to do with a conflict, for political purposes"; and on the TV1 late news he described terrorism as "violence against individuals not directly involved in a conflict" or words to that effect.

Those two quotes describe precisely what the US government and its current allies (including the NZ government) are doing in Afghanistan right at this point in time - killing innocent bystanders, who have nothing to do with a conflict. Does this mean then that the assets of the NZ (and other warmongering) governments will be frozen?

Probably not, it's only some 'terrorists' whose assets will be affected as it seems that it will be the Minister of Justice who will make the decision about who is or isn't a terrorist. Only the killing of some types of innocent bystanders will apparently be regarded as 'terrorist'. And if any suspect whose assets have been frozen wishes to make a complaint about it - they will be able to appeal to .... the Minister of Justice and/or the Inspector General of the Intelligence and Security! How very reassuring - politicians and/or their political appointees as judge and jury.

Whatever happened to the notion of an independent judicial system? Apparently, according to Phil Goff, evidence that a suspect may be a terrorist is "far too sensitive" for it to be heard in a court!

Not only that, but the new anti-terrorist legislation being rushed through the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee is itself too sensitive for the likes of you and me to be allowed to see it or comment on it. Apparently certain selected groups will be given about a week to put in their comments - no indication yet of who those groups might be. Very likely that information is far too sensitive for us to know who they are ...

We enclose below an urgent action alert from Arena on this proposed legislation. If you're planning on writing to Phil Goff with your thoughts about the anti-terrorist bill and the mad rush to get it passed through parliament, why don't you also ask him whatever happened to the legislation to improve the accountability of the Police Complaints Authority. The report of the review into the PCA was due a year ago tomorrow, and was eventually presented by Justice Gallen to Phil Goff last December. Yet the government has made no progress towards implementing Justice Gallen's recommendations nor establishing an Independent PCA. [*1]

Isn't it strange how legislation which might give better protection to people harmed by government agencies proceeds so very slowly, yet legislation designed to give government agencies further powers to erode human rights gets pushed through just as fast as possible?

You can contact Phil Goff, Minister of Justice, office - tel 471 9370, fax 495 8444, or write to him at Parliament Buildings, Wellington (no stamp needed). [*1] For background on the PCA review check out http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/sep200.htm#topic1 and also 'Who remembers Steven Wallace' at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/waitarah.htm


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Peace Movement Aotearoa
the national networking peace organisation
PO Box 9314, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Tel +64 4 382 8129
Fax +64 4 382 8173 pma@xtra.co.nz
http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/
Internet Peace Gateway - http://www.peace.org.nz


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