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Nats misleading on counter-terrorism lists


Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs
22 June 2006

Nats misleading on counter-terrorism lists

Only four groups on a list of terrorist entities who would face serious criminal sanctions in Australia are not designated as terrorist organisations in New Zealand, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

"National security is far too important to play politics with, and the National Party has simply been seeking cheap headlines by making confusing comparisons of different lists," Mr Peters said.

“Mr McCully's claim that Australia has designated 88 more terrorist groups than New Zealand has is misleading. The fact of the matter is that Australia designates terrorists through two lists, while we do it through a single list.

"Australia maintains one list for the purposes of implementing asset freezes on terrorists. It has another, shorter list, of 19 entities to apply stronger criminal sanctions – for example, for participation in a terrorist group.

"New Zealand uses a single list of designated terrorist entities and individuals to apply the full range of anti-terrorism sanctions, including criminalisation of participation in and recruitment for a terrorist group, as well as asset freezes.

"Fifteen on the Australian list of 19 are designated in New Zealand, despite Mr McCully's assertions. The remaining four are Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas' military wing, Hizballah's military wing, and the PKK (Workers' Party of Kurdistan).

“New Zealand and Australia have different processes, but we work towards the same goal and we coordinate our counter-terrorist work very closely."

Mr Peters said New Zealand had not yet designated terrorist entities beyond those specified by the UN because that was not a step to be taken lightly.

"Officials have been preparing advice on designation of non-UN-listed groups. Once the advice is complete, the government will give it careful consideration.

“We take our international counter-terrorism obligations very seriously. We are respected internationally both for our contributions to the campaign against terrorism, and our work to help strengthen the counter-terrorist capacity of our Pacific neighbours.

"Ironically, Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali is not on either of the Australian lists of designated terrorists and terrorist organizations," Mr Peters said.

ENDS

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