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Government passes tough anti-terrorism law

Government passes tough anti-terrorism law

The Government will pass legislation today giving it more power to combat terrorism and allowing it to implement anti-terrorism measures required of United Nations members, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said today.

“The Terrorism Suppression Act implements New Zealand’s obligation under Resolution 1373 passed unanimously by the UN Security Council following the horrific events of September 11.

“The original Bill introduced before September 11 criminalized terrorist attacks using explosive devices and the financing of terrorist acts.

“The amendments as a result of Resolution 1373 targets those who raise funds for terrorism and provides for terrorists’ property to be frozen. It also makes recruitment to and participation in terrorist groups a criminal offence.

“A major challenge in the drafting of the legislation was to define what is a terrorist act and to differentiate it from protest or industrial action. The conduct designed to be caught by the definition is acts that are intended to induce terror in a population, endanger human life or devastate our economy.

“The legislation gives the government greater ability to crack down on terrorism. It also however provides clear safeguards to ensure that the measures are directed to terrorist organisations rather than domestic dissident groups.

“Any act of protest, advocacy, dissent, strike or lockout is excluded from the definition of terrorist act unless it meets the high threshold outlined.

“This legislation is necessary in an age when no-one is immune from the reaches of terrorism. New Zealanders cannot be complacent due to their relative geographic isolation.

“A concerted international effort is needed to combat this problem. This legislation prevents New Zealand from being used as a haven for terrorists or providing funding or recruitment for terrorism.

“It reaffirms New Zealand’s commitment to tackling terrorism and to working multilaterally to achieve a more peaceful and stable world,” Mr Goff said.

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