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Amendments to tighten Terrorism Suppression Act

Hon Phil Goff- Minister of Justice

14 December 2004

Amendments to tighten Terrorism Suppression Act

A Bill tightening provisions in the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 was introduced into Parliament today by Justice Minister Phil Goff.

"Provisions in the existing Act mean that New Zealand's designations of terrorist organisations – including the 318 organisations listed by the United Nations Security Council – expire after three years unless renewed by order of the High Court," Mr Goff said.

"Drafting of that provision created the unintended need for each designation to be renewed individually, meaning it will be impossible to renew all the 318 UNSC-listed designations before they expire next October. That would put New Zealand in breach of Security Council Resolution 1373 – which was passed unanimously by the UN in the wake of September 11 – and related resolutions.

"In order to avoid that, the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill will extend the expiry date by two years to 2007.

"The extension will also allow a select committee review of the Act, due to be reported back by 1 December 2005, to fully consider what changes, if any, should be made to the renewal process.

"At the time the original Bill was first introduced, there was uncertainty as to the nature and extent of the terrorism phenomenon. An assumption that some designations might be short-lived has since proved false and New Zealand now has over 420 designated terrorist organisations – all of which are on the UN Security Council list – and is considering adding more groups to that list."

Mr Goff said the Bill also proposed extending two sections of the Act that prohibited the financing of terrorist acts and of designated terrorist entities so that they also covered the intentional financing of non-designated terrorist organisations.

"Given the fluidity of terrorist movements, and the unpredictable emergence of new terrorist groups, this change is the most workable way of ensuring that New Zealand will always remain compliant with international obligations prohibiting the funding of terrorist organisations," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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