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NZ expertise to help draft counter-terrorism laws

NZ expertise to help draft counter-terrorism legislation for Pacific Islands

New Zealand is providing a legal drafter to assist preparation of model counter-terrorism legislation for Pacific Islands Forum countries, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

A working group of Forum members and regional law enforcement agencies are meeting in Fiji this week to develop a framework to address terrorism and trans-national crime in the Pacific.

Part of that framework will be model legislation that Forum countries can adapt to suit their national circumstances.

"The relative geographic isolation of the South Pacific can no longer be assumed to offer any sort of protection from terrorist activities, a reality underlined by the bombing in Bali last year," Mr Goff said.

"Pacific Island countries have to pass counter-terrorism legislation to meet their obligations under United Nations Resolution 1373, which followed September 11. Many are having difficulty developing that legislation, so by helping to draw up model legislation, New Zealand is helping them meet their international obligations.

"Assisting our neighbours to fight trans-national crime and terrorism enhances our own domestic security measures as well. The more robust that border control, law enforcement and regulatory regimes are throughout the Pacific, the less likely it is that terrorist or criminal activities in the region will flow over into New Zealand," Mr Goff said

The expert working group was established following the Nasonini Declaration on regional security, endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in August 2002.

Mr Goff said the group would put the model legislation to Forum Leaders for endorsement at August's Forum in Auckland.

“After that we expect that legal drafters will be available to visit Forum countries to assist with adapting the model to fit existing legislative frameworks."

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