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Terrorism Surveillance Laws Complete Second Reading

Terrorism surveillance laws have completed their second reading and are set to pass into law later tonight under Urgency rules.

Chris Finlayson on behalf of the Prime Minister said the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill represented a response to the rapid evolution of threats faced from terrorism.

He thanked the select committee for its work and said the proposals were more targeted now.

The bill received a number of changes in select committee, notably reducing the period the security services could conduct video surveillance without a warrant from 48 hours to 24 hours.

Finlayson said there were some questions over whether the term foreign fighter needed to be defined in the legislation. He said this would superfluous as the law already identified what a terrorist and a terrorist act was. This was not include environmental activists

Andrew Little said Labour would support the bill and noted it was mandated by the United Nations to deal with a number of issues.

Labour had asked whether there was a risk and whether the bill’s proposals were commensurate with this risk and decided on balance to support it. He said the process around the bill had been terrible, rushed and unsatisfactory.

Green MP Kennedy Graham said the bill was an over-reaction and represented an erosion of human rights.

During his speech NZ First Leader Winston Peters compared the bill to the rise of Nazism. Mr Peters said many of the issues dealt with in the bill could have been dealt with now repealed sedition laws.

The bill completed its second reading by 94 to 27 with Greens, NZ First and Maori Party opposed. After the vote Mr Peters sought for Parliament to look at reinstatement of sedition laws as part of the committee stage of the terrorism bill this was defeated with only NZ First in favour.

Gerry Brownlee moved the Urgency motion for the bill saying it was necessary to pass the bill to deal with near term threats identified by security agencies. The motion was passed by 62 to 59 with National, United Future and ACT in favour.


After completing the second reading debate, MPs move immediately to the committee stage of the bill.


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