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National & Act Talk Security Concerns/ Ahmed Zaoui

National And Act Talk Security Concerns & Ahmed Zaoui

By Kevin List


National Views On Security Concerns

National's immigration spokesperson, Hon Tony Ryall proved a rather busy fellow when questioned by Scoop about his statements concerning the Supreme Court's decision to grant detained Algerian refugee, Ahmed Zaoui bail. After coming out with some strong statements criticising the Governments handling of the Ahmed Zaoui case Mr Ryall then hung up citing time pressures when Scoop posed a question relating to one of his recent press releases.

Scoop: What is the point you are trying to make with your latest statements regarding the Zaoui case?

Mr Ryall: It seems a complete contradiction to have legislation that puts the national security as first and foremost as a consideration and then allows such people [Mr Zaoui] to be out on bail. We think it is incompetent that the situation has occurred. We've said to the Government that if they want to fix the legislation they should come and talk to us.

Scoop: The Greens and the Progressives have been urging the Government to fix the legislation so that Mr Zaoui could be transferred to the Mangere Refugee Centre. The Government has argued that the legal processes must be followed. Do you think the Government could be in a bit of a bind considering they haven't tried to fix the law with their more traditional centre left allies?

Mr Ryall: The importance here is that international interests don't think the welcome mat is out and that is why it is important that the Government moves to ensure that this does not happen again.

The National party is offering to support the Government if they are prepared to come and discuss the nature of any changes with us. Traditionally the Government does not look to the flaky left to support them on security legislation. On important pieces of security legislation we have always had the major parties working together in the interests of the country – and I'm sure that can happen again.

Scoop: Isn't part of the problem that Tuariki Delamere [NZ First defector and Minister of Immigration in the National led Government that passed the Immigation Amendment Act 1999 ] didn't take the call and explain any of the details in the 1999 Immigration Act – leaving the judges with nothing to go on?

Mr Ryall: Well generally the judges look at the legislation on the face of it – and I think what we've been saying is quite right and changes to the law are necessary?

Scoop: You point out in your press release that he may pose a serious threat – if someone may be a burglar should they [Be locked up for two years]…

Mr Ryall: I don't know whether its worth having a conversation if you. I've got better things to do this afternoon – [Mr Ryall then hung up without saying goodbye]


ACT's Views On Security Concerns

ACT MP Stephen Franks admitted to Scoop he hadn't been following the Zaoui case too closely however he was suspicious of the Government's motives for keeping Mr Zaoui in jail for two years.

Mr Franks considered that Mr Zaoui must either be:

-a major security risk in which case both Labour and National should address the national security issues surrounding the Zaoui case on a bipartisan level;

- or that bungling at the start of the Zaoui case had led the Government into a face saving exercise at the expense of Mr Zaoui's liberty.

When asked by Scoop whether he'd followed the Solicitor-General Terence Arnolds' efforts at the Supreme Court, Mr Franks pointed out that he had previously worked with Mr Arnold and that he was a very competent legal practitioner. Mr Franks was somewhat amused by the ACT Party interns' (from Germany) impression of the Crowns' handling of the Zaoui case.

"The intern we sent across wondered whether he [Mr Arnold] should have a practising certificate", he said.

The only conclusion Mr Franks could have for the Solicitor General's efforts at the Supreme Court was that the Solicitor General had been given "appalling advice."


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