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Zaoui Case A Constitutional Test

8 December 2004

Zaoui Case A Constitutional Test

Rt Hon Winston Peters says the Ahmed Zaoui bail application before the Supreme Court tomorrow is a test case that will determine whether an elected government or a panel of appointed judges is responsible for New Zealand’s security and safety.

Last month the new court decided to hear Ahmed Zaoui’s bail application and the Government has refused to amend the Immigration Act to cut off possible loopholes that might allow him to go free.

“Zaoui arrived here two years ago from South East Asia on false papers that he destroyed. He had been convicted in Europe and was regarded internationally as a security risk because of his links to an extreme group.

“He could have been released from detention to leave New Zealand voluntarily any time in the past two years. Instead, with the help of do-nothing ministers, compulsive do-gooders and limitless legal aid, he deliberately chose to inflict himself on innocent taxpaying New Zealanders to the tune of nearly $2 million.

“This case is not about the rights of an individual under common law. It is about someone from an alien culture with a criminal record who arrived here using deception and trickery and refused to leave.”

Mr Peters said that Zaoui knew he would be able to rely on the naivety of certain New Zealanders to push his cause and he carefully avoided moderate Muslim countries because they would probably have expelled him, as was the case with France and Belgium.

“The rest of the world will be watching this case. If Zaoui is released, Western democracies will regard New Zealand and New Zealanders as security risks while international terrorist groups will see us as a safe haven and a link to the West.

“This case is bigger than Zaoui. It is a test of our parliamentary sovereignty. We cannot afford a power struggle between an elected government and a group of judges. There is too much at stake,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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