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Submissions: Anti-terrorism legislation

8 November 2001

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Submissions: Anti-terrorism legislation
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Kia ora,

Further to the alert 'NZ government assets to be frozen?' (PMA/Arena, 30 October 2001), you may have heard the announcement from Phil Goff today that there will now be an opportunity for public submissions on the proposed Amendments to the Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill. The closing date for written submissions is 30 November, which is hardly sufficient for such a drastic piece of legislation. Especially for legislation which dramatically extends the anti-democratic ideology and practices of the successive SIS Amendment Acts, and more recently the GCSB Bill; which turns politicians into judge and jury; and is rather lengthy as well as somewhat bizarre in its content.

The proposed amendments contain such gems as "The Prime Minister may designate an entity as a terrorist entity under this section if the Prime Minister has good cause to suspect the entity of having carried out, or having participated in the carrying out of one or more terrorist acts." and "On or after designating an entity as a terrorist entity under this Act, the Prime Minister may designate another entity as an associated entity under this section."

Before you get too excited about the idea that allowing public submissions may actually make a difference to the proposed legislation, it is worth remembering that 118 out of 120 submissions on one of the SIS Amendment Acts opposed it ... and it passed through parliament virtually unchanged.

In addition, in his press release today Phil Goff said :

"Because taking this approach will delay the legislation through to early next year, we need to put in place interim measures to allow us to deal with a situation where terrorists funds were identified in New Zealand. "To achieve this we will be utilising the United Nations Act 1946 which will allow the Government through regulation to freeze the assets of terrorists. This will be a temporary measure until the legislation is enacted. Similar measures have been adopted by Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom."

"The Regulations would set out a list of organisations and individuals designated as terrorists. Any financial assets of those groups and individuals found in New Zealand would be frozen. It would also be a criminal offence for organisations and individuals so designated to seek to recruit members here, or for people to participate in their activities," Mr Goff said.

It is not yet clear who will decide which organisations and individuals are to be designated as terrorists, nor what right of appeal there will be for any 'entity' designated as a terrorist under the emergency regulations.

* What you can do:

~ If you wish to make a submission on the proposed legislation, contact David Sanders, Clerk of the Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Select Committee, tell him you wish to make a submission on the proposed Amendments to the Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill, and ask to be sent the relevant papers - tel (04) 471 9999 or

david.sanders@parliament.govt.nz

* Where to get more information about the proposed legislation:

~ for an outline of the the preliminary concerns about this legislation, and the dodgy way the government planned to rush it through parliament without any public consultation, you could refer to 'NZ government assets to be frozen?' at

http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/rob00178.htm

~ the proposed Amendments, the original Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill, and an analysis of the proposed legislation to assist those of you who wish to write a submission, will be available on the Arena website from Monday night, 12 November, check it out at

http://www.arena.org.nz


Peace Movement Aotearoa the national networking peace organisation PO Box 9314, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand Tel +64 4 382 8129 Fax +64 4 382 8173

pma@xtra.co.nz

http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/ Internet Peace Gateway - http://www.peace.org.nz

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