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Use Terrorism Suppression Act Provisions

Murray McCully MP
National Party Foreign Affairs Spokesman

13 June 2006

Use Terrorism Suppression Act Provisions - National

The National Party is questioning whether the Government's failure to use the provisions of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 contributed to the ability of Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali to enter and remain in New Zealand.

The Act was passed in New Zealand, and similar legislation passed in many other jurisdictions, following the September 11 attacks. It gives the authorities extensive powers to act against designated terrorists or terrorist organisations.

National Party Foreign Affairs and Defence spokesman Murray McCully says the Government must now urgently start using the powers contained in the Terrorism Suppression Act, and is questioning whether failure to use the legislation contributed to Ali's entry and stay in New Zealand. "The Terrorism Suppression Act requires the Prime Minister to designate terrorists and terrorist organisations against whom the authorities can then use the powers contained in the legislation. It is obligatory to designate the individuals or organisations identified as terrorists by the United Nations Security Council. Individual nations are then responsible for identifying others which should be designated by the Prime Minister.

"Under their legislation, Australia has designated 88 individuals or organisations over and above the UN list. Canada has designated over 50. But the New Zealand Government has not designated a single one.

"For some months I have been identifying the failure to use this important post-September 11 legislation as a potentially serious oversight by the Prime Minister and the Government. When Australia and Canada have designated 88 and 50 individuals or groups respectively, it defies belief that New Zealand cannot identify a single threat deserving of the sanctions in the legislation.

"I wonder whether Mr Ali might more easily have been identified at the border had the Government designated obvious Al Queda associates. I wonder whether the failure to use the legislation is indicative of a general level of complacency that we will all live to regret.

"I call upon the Government, and specifically the Prime Minister, to urgently follow the lead of Australia and Canada, and make full use of the legislation which our Parliament passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks," Mr McCully says.

ENDS

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