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Terrorism Bill excludes biological warfare

Richard Worth National Defence Spokesperson

10 October 2002

Terrorism Bill excludes biological warfare

"The Terrorism Bill which under Urgency passed through its remaining stages, contains significant gaps in respect of chemical and biological warfare attacks," National Defence Spokesperson Richard Worth said today.

"The National Party supports the legislation which has a primary focus on terrorist bombings and terrorist financing.

"Terrorism is a huge threat and it is very important that New Zealand can respond to this threat effectively.

"There is the added dimension of biological and chemical warfare. Two hundred tonnes of the deadly VW nerve agent could obliterate the entire global population. One ounce of anthrax in an air-conditioning system in a sports stadium could infect 70,000 people.

"The Government has left a gap in the legislation. It says that in the interim we should be relying on the offence creating provisions in the Crimes Act 1961. Those provisions are ill-suited to biological and chemical warfare activity and carry minimum penalties given the nature of the threat.

"By contrast terrorist bombing carries a life sentence in the new legislation.

"An additional clause in the Bill would have substantially strengthened our response to these new threats," Mr Worth said.


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