Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Why Thursdays’ anti-terrorism bill is bad

17 October 2007

Why Thursdays’ anti-terrorism bill is bad for New Zealand

Since 2001 our government has passed three pieces of legislation to “suppress terrorism” with the fourth now due in parliament tomorrow. This latest piece is the Suppression of Terrorism Bill 2007.

There will be many more such bills to follow in the future.

The government says it is just doing its part supporting international moves to isolate and control terrorism. In reality it’s part of the US leadership’s drive to have American foreign policy objectives adopted by governments around the world.

So what are the latest changes and why are they dangerous?

Change 1: Under the proposed law the definition of a terrorist changes to someone who, for political reasons, causes “serious disruption to an infrastructure facility, if likely to endanger human life…”

Effect: There are many examples of protest activity and civil disobedience from past events such as the 1981 Springbok tour which could now be classified as terrorist. (A better definition would be the UN definition of “criminal acts, including those against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public…”)

Change 2: Under this legislation New Zealand would automatically adopt the UN list of terrorists and terrorist organisations. It is the US which dominates the compilation of these lists.

Effect: New Zealanders working to support liberation struggles, democracy and human rights overseas would now face the prospect of being charged with supporting terrorist organisations. Under the new proposal it would have been illegal to provide support for the African National Congress in the fight against apartheid or for campaigns to have Nelson Mandela released from jail. It could easily also be used against New Zealanders supporting Palestinian groups such as Hamas despite Hamas being democratically elected to power in the occupied territory of Palestine. (Previous legislation allowed support and assistance to organisations provided it was “for the purpose of advocating democratic government or the protection of human rights”. This wording is to be removed)

Change 3: New Zealand would give up its right to make its own independent assessments of terrorists and terrorist designations.

Effect: Without the ability to make our own independent assessments we become captive to shonky, prejudiced, politically motivated overseas assessments such as those relating to Ahmed Zaoui. (Previously New Zealand adopted UN designations “in the absence of evidence to the contrary”. This safeguard would be removed)

Change 4: The courts are removed from considering designations of terrorist or terrorist organisations. (At the moment if the Prime Minister designates a terrorist organisation then this is reviewable by the High court after three years)

Effect: Independent scrutiny of cases will no longer be available. The PM will be judge and jury. The US wants this because governments are then more open to international pressure. At least with the courts there is the semblance of independent scrutiny.

This assumption of power by politicians over court processes is demonstrated most clearly by the US with its treatment of Guantanemo Bay detainees and the CIA’s “rendition” programme whereby suspected terrorists have been clandestinely transferred around the world for torture. In both cases the courts have been sidelined. It would be a disgrace for New Zealand to follow.

Monday’s arrests Monday’s police action in arresting 17 people on gun charges and raising the spectre of terrorism charges to follow is an attempt to soften the public up to the idea we have terrorism in New Zealand.

This creates a climate of fear and makes it easier to pass anti-terrorism laws which inevitably undermine the civil rights of New Zealanders and our relations with organisations overseas.

The government should withdraw this grubby piece of legislation.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Anne Tolley’s
Callous Folly

Years ago, I remember someone in the Heath Ministry telling me off the record that regulatory oversight in this country largely consisted in ‘waiting for something to turn green or fall off somebody’ before the authorities would swing into action...

Last week’s conflict between Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and District Court judge Carolyn Henwood illustrated quite a few of the flaws in the system. More>>

 

Members’ Bills: Greens' Domestic Violence And Loans Bills Pulled From Ballot

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill introduces workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, including allowing victims to request paid domestic violence leave for up to 10 days... Gareth Hughes’ Bill allows Kiwis with student loans to defer their student loan repayments into a first home savings scheme. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Did Not 'Deliberately' Use Pepper Spray On 10-Year-Old

"When spraying the man, the officer did not properly consider the necessity of using pepper spray in a confined space, the likelihood that it would affect the other innocent passengers or the fact that he was using a more powerful spray." More>>

ALSO:

Donor Bill Passes: Full Income Compensation For Live Organ Donors

Unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid. More>>

ALSO:

Earthquake Response: Emergency Legislation Prepared

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently. More>>

ALSO:

Housing MPs: New Building(s) For Parliament

A new building will be erected on Parliament grounds to house Members of Parliament and their staff who currently work in leased accommodation in Bowen House. The plan has cross-Party support, apart from NZ First, said Parliament’s Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news