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Counter Terrorism Bill: Submissions due, 9 May

Counter Terrorism Bill: Submissions due, 9 May 2003

A reminder that the closing date for submissions on the Counter-Terrorism Bill (2002) is 9 May. If you are interested in making a submission, you can get a copy of the Bill on-line at http://www.knowledge-basket.co.nz/gpprint/docs/bills/20020271.txt

The purpose of the Bill is stated as: "the Bill amends and supplements the Suppression of Terrorism Act 2002 to combat terrorism."

In a press release last December, Phil Goff said:

"This legislation is the latest in a series of measures implemented in the past twelve months by the Government in countering terrorism. These have included a $30 million boost in funding in counter-terrorism measures covering intelligence agencies, police, immigration and defence.

"Terrorism does not always come in the form of a bomb or a gun. The deliberate introduction of foot and mouth would be catastrophic for the New Zealand economy. Poisoning a town's water supply or instilling widespread fear in a community are forms of terrorism as well. "

That is very true of course, but as terrorism is very much in the eye of the beholder, then presumably this legislation will not be used against industries who poison water supplies ...

Amongst other things, the Bill provides "that every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years who, without lawful justification or reasonable excuse, contaminates food, crops, water, or any other products, knowing, or being reckless as to whether the food, crops, water, or products were intended for human consumption" - potential for anti-GE and environmental campaigners to take legal action there?

And how about "that every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years who, without lawful justification or reasonable excuse, with intent or recklessly, directly or indirectly causes or produces in an animal any disease or sickness resulting in a serious risk to the health or safety of an animal population or in major damage to the national economy of New Zealand (Part 1, Clause 6, New Section 298A)" - a useful legislative tool for animal rights campaigners perhaps?

On a more serious note, the Counter Terrorism Bill is just one more in the series of repressive and unnecessary legislation passed over the past few years which individually and collectively have eroded human rights.

And as Keith Locke has pointed out: "It is a fraudulent bill because although it is called the Counter-Terrorism Bill, much of the bill has nothing to do with terrorism or counter-terrorism. I am referring to the many amendments to the Crimes Act, the Misuse of Drugs Act, and the Summary Proceedings Act, which have nothing to do with terrorism and are sneaked into the bill because the Government knows that if a counter-terrorism label is put on amendments members will be more reluctant to oppose them." (Speech to parliament on the First Reading of the Bill).

If you are looking for more information to write a submission on the Bill, Keith's speech makes a number of points about its many faults. The speech is available on-line at http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/speech6173.html

The Terrorism Suppression Legislation index page at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/terrosub.htm has articles which may be helpful; including fourteen of the submissions which were made opposing the Terrorism Suppression Bill (which was passed in 2002) which have general points applicable to this Bill too.

* How to make your submission

"The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on the Counter-Terrorism Bill. Please forward 20 copies of your submission by Friday, 9 May 2003. If you wish to appear before the committee, state this clearly with your submission, providing a contact name and daytime phone number. Submissions to select committees generally become public. Please contact the committee secretariat before sending information of a private or personal nature."

For further guidance on making a submission, check out 'Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee' at http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/NR/rdonlyres/53DE9B28-CADA-409F-A9FA-47A7E2CE9B30/0/MakeSubE.pdf

Note: if your submission is not very lengthy, David Sanders (Clerk of the Committee) may accept it by email - please contact him first to check if this is acceptable.

David Sanders email mailto:david.sanders@parliament.govt.nz or SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz Tel (04) 471 9549, fax 499 0486. Submissions should be posted to Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Secretariat, Bowen House, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

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