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Call for public submissions on Terrorism Bill


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

8 November 2001

Goff welcomes Committee decision to call for public submissions on Terrorism Bill

Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has welcomed the announcement by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee to call for general submissions on the Terrorism Bill.

“It is important that New Zealand responds quickly to its international obligations as a member of the United Nations and has in place legislation which allows financial assets of terrorists to be frozen.

“It is however equally important that the legislation which does this on a long-term basis is sound and properly safeguards the rights of ordinary New Zealanders not to be dealt with in an arbitrary way.

“It is therefore desirable that members of the public as well as interested organisations have a chance to subject the legislation to scrutiny and make submissions on it. I indicated to the Select Committee that I would therefore favour this course being followed.

“Because taking this approach will delay the legislation through to early next year, we need to put in place interim measures to allow us to deal with a situation where terrorists funds were identified in New Zealand.

“To achieve this we will be utilising the United Nations Act 1946 which will allow the Government through regulation to freeze the assets of terrorists. This will be a temporary measure until the legislation is enacted. Similar measures have been adopted by Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

“The UN Act has been used to enable the freezing of assets in accordance with previous UN resolutions on Iraq and former Yugoslavia. Earlier this year it was applied to the Taliban and these regulations are currently in force.

“The Regulations would set out a list of organisations and individuals designated as terrorists. Any financial assets of those groups and individuals found in New Zealand would be frozen. It would also be a criminal offence for organisations and individuals so designated to seek to recruit members here, or for people to participate in their activities,” Mr Goff said.


ENDS

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