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Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill (No 2)

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice

10 February 2005
Media statement

Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill (No 2)

Justice Minister Phil Goff gave the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill (No 2) its first reading in Parliament today.

"This brief bill contains three matters," Mr Goff said.

"The first relates to designations of terrorist organisations. Provisions in the existing Act mean that New Zealand's designations of terrorist organisations – including the 318 organisations listed by the United Nations Security Council – expire after three years unless renewed by order of the High Court.

"Drafting of that provision created the unintended need for each designation to be renewed individually, meaning it will be impossible to renew all the 318 Security Council-listed designations before they expire in October.

"That would put New Zealand in breach of Security Council Resolution 1373 – which was passed unanimously by the United Nations in the wake of September 11 – and related resolutions.

"In order to avoid that, the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill (No 2) will extend the expiry date by two years to 2007. The extension will also allow a select committee review of the Act, due to be reported back by 1 December 2005, to fully consider what changes, if any, should be made to the renewal process.

"At the time the original Bill was first introduced, there was uncertainty as to the nature and extent of the terrorism phenomenon. An assumption that some designations might be short-lived has since proved false and New Zealand now has over 420 designated terrorist organisations – all of which are on the Security Council list – and is considering adding more groups to that list.

"The second change proposed involves extending two sections of the Act that prohibited the financing of terrorist acts and of designated terrorist entities so that they also cover the intentional financing of non-designated terrorist organisations.

"Given the fluidity of terrorist movements, and the unpredictable emergence of new terrorist groups, this change is the most workable way of ensuring that New Zealand will always remain compliant with international obligations prohibiting the funding of terrorist organisations.

"The third proposal involves a technical amendment to change an existing reference from the 'Chief Justice' to the 'Chief High Court Judge'.

"Section 38(3) of the principal Act states that, if information presented or proposed to be presented in support of an application to the High Court includes classified security information, the proceedings must be heard and determined by the Chief Justice, or by one or more judges nominated by the Chief Justice, or both. With the creation of the Supreme Court (and the Chief Justice’s membership of it) it is now more appropriate to specify the Chief High Court Judge," Mr Goff said.

The Bill will be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, to be reported back by May 31.

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz

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