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Labour Dithering Will Set Zaoui Free

25 November 2004

Labour Dithering Will Set Zaoui Free

New Zealand First associate immigration spokesperson Dail Jones says the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Ahmed Zaoui’s bail application confirms his worst fears about the Government’s failure to act with any regard to the safety and security of New Zealand.

“We warned the Government in Parliament a few weeks ago that it was in grave danger of seeing New Zealand’s international reputation in matters of security being placed at risk if legislation was not introduced urgently to deal with the Zaoui case. We have been proved absolutely correct by the Supreme Court decision,” said Mr Jones.

“The Supreme Court has confirmed that the High Court has an inherent jurisdiction to grant bail but appears to have ignored the object of part 4A of the Immigration Act which says it is to:

‘(f) Ensure that persons covered by this Act who pose a security risk can where necessary be effectively and quickly detained and removed or deported from New Zealand’.

“Existing legislation has effectively placed the Supreme Court in the position of being responsible for national security. This must be of concern to all New Zealanders,” said Mr Jones.

“We call on the Government to move quickly and amend the Act before the Supreme Court hears the bail application on December 9th. New Zealand First would support such a move.

“Zaoui is a convicted criminal and a known international security risk. He should never have been allowed to stay here and Parliament has a duty to close any legal loophole that might free him into our midst.

“This case is not about the rights of an individual under common law. It is about someone with a criminal record who arrived here using deception and trickery.

“New Zealand cannot afford to tell the world we accept these cases and then free them,” said Mr Jones.

ENDS

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