Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Goff Speech: Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill

Phil Goff: 2nd reading, Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill

Mr Speaker, I move that the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill (No 2) be now read a second time. The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee have recommended that it be passed with no amendments.

The Bill is necessary to ensure that terrorist entities designated as such under the Act do not expire. This would have placed New Zealand in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. Not to pass this Bill would be to leave no legal sanction against those who support organisations related to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 was passed in the wake of the horrific events of 11 September 2001. At the time, the nature and extent of the terrorism phenomenon was still unclear – as was how the international obligations emerging from the UN Security Council in response to those events might be interpreted and implemented.

The Act was an appropriate response at the time. But equally it was recognised that provisions in it would need to be kept under review and amended where necessary in light of experience and the rapidly evolving international environment.

As a result, this is the second amendment Bill to be put before the House since the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 was enacted. There is also provision for the Act to be reviewed by a select committee and reported back by 1 December 2005. The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has already begun that review, and I look forward to their report by the end of this year.

Notwithstanding that review, the current Bill introduces measures that are needed before the completion of the review. In particular, two measures in the Bill need to be implemented in order for New Zealand to fully comply with its international obligations. These are the creation of a specific terrorist financing offence relating to the funding of terrorist entities and the extension of the current terrorist designations made pursuant to the Act.

Clause 4 creates a new offence of directly or indirectly financing terrorist entities, as opposed to terrorist acts. The creation of this offence will make New Zealand fully compliant with UN Security Council Resolution 1373, as well as Financial Action Task Force Special Recommendation II. Compliance with these internationally agreed measures is critical to ensuring that New Zealand does not and cannot be seen to become a country through which funding support for terrorist groups can be channelled.

The committee expressed some concern regarding the scope of this offence. Some concerns were expressed that the scope could capture, or be used maliciously to allege an offence of funding a terrorist entity, when the donor in fact believed or intended they were funding legitimate human rights, humanitarian or democratic rights groups.

Having given serious consideration to these concerns, the committee was satisfied, as I am, that neither the intent nor wording of the offence will catch persons who provide or collect funds for groups with no connection to terrorist activity. Nor will it risk criminalising the unwitting donation of funds to terrorist entities, for example via a terrorist group's apparently legitimate front organisation.

To be captured by the new offence, a person must intend that the money provided or raised will directly or indirectly benefit an entity that they know carries out terrorist acts: this is a significant burden for the prosecution to satisfy in any particular case. In addition, any prosecution for the offence, as with all offences under the Act, requires the consent of the Attorney General.

Together, these factors ensure that only those who it can be proved have knowingly and wilfully supported terrorists will be captured by the offence. And such people, of course, should have their actions criminalised, and that is what this Bill does.

The Committee also discussed the application of the “avoidance of doubt” provision contained in section 8 of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002. It is arguable that the effect of this provision needs further consideration, but the issues involved in that consideration are somewhat wider than the limited matters being addressed immediately through this Bill. The committee's broader review of the Act provides a more suitable forum for that consideration and any recommendations arising from it.

The second substantive amendment in the Bill extends the October 2005 expiry date applying to 318 terrorist entities so designated under the Act. When the Act was originally passed, it was not known for how long the initial designations of terrorist groups made by the United Nations Security Council would remain current. For that reason the initial designations were given an expiry date, and a process for review and extension of individual designations was established.

Nearly three years on, all of the entities are still UN Security Council designations – none have been removed from their list. However, the Act does not presently allow us to bring one application to the High Court for all of the UN designations to be extended. This means that 318 individual applications for review and extension would be needed. The time and resource implications for the High Court in such an exercise would be enormous. It is clear that there is simply insufficient time to extend so many designations in this way.

Allowing the designations of groups related to Al Qaeda and the Taliban as terrorist entities to expire, and New Zealand to become non-compliant with the Security Council resolution, is not an option.

Instead, the Bill extends the expiration date for the current terrorist designations for a period of two years following the report of the select committee on its broader review of the Act.

This time frame will provide the committee with the time needed to fully examine the issue of terrorist designations and the review and extension process, and allow the government sufficient time to examine and respond to any committee recommendations arising from their review.

I commend this Bill to the House.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care.

Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More


Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>


Gong Time: New Year's Honours List

Jacinda Ardern today congratulated the 179 New Zealanders named on the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

“Although this list was compiled and completed by the last government, it is a pleasure to welcome in the New Year by recognising exceptional New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“As an Aunty, I love reading books to my nieces, so it’s lovely to congratulate Joy Cowley, who is made a member of the Order of New Zealand today....More
Full list

Roads: National launches bid to save highway projects

The National Party has launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams…More>>


Medical Cannabis: Bill Introduced to “ease suffering”

Health Minister Dr David Clark says making medicinal cannabis more readily available will help relieve the suffering of people who are dying in pain More>>


Campbell: On The Quest For Zero Net Carbon Emissions
Some would querulously ask, zero net carbon emissions by 2050 – while others would say, why not?


CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need... More>>





Featured InfoPages