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Need for rule of law highlighted by Zaoui case

19 April 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Need for rule of law highlighted by Zaoui and other cases

Matt Robson says that New Zealand must uphold the rule of law and the protection of proper legal process for all.

“If the case of asylum seeker Ahmed Zaoui has taught us anything, it is that a hysterical reaction to threat of terrorism threatens the rule of law,” said Progressive deputy leader Matt Robson.

“In the end, classified information about Mr Zaoui or about anyone else is merely untested allegations. Any individual affected must have a chance to test the charges before an independent Court.

“In recent years, numbers of New Zealanders, both citizens and permanent residents, have asked me for help because they had been adversely affected by classified information. I have found time and again that a number of key government agencies were ignoring natural justice. This is a growing problem as agencies take liberties with the rule of law.

“That is not in the interest of a democratic New Zealand.

“I found that the people who asked me for help had been adversely affected by information that failed to stand up to scrutiny,” said Matt Robson.

What the Zaoui case shows is that there need to be a sober review of the legislation relating to national security and the powers of government agencies to ensure the rule of law and proper legal processes remain in place for the protection of individuals. Independent tribunals like the Refugee Status Appeals Authority must not be subjected to intimidation by politicians.

ENDS

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