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No Guantanamo in New Zealand

“The Lynnmall terrorist attack was a terrible and utterly unnecessary tragedy, and more policing and surveillance is not the way to solve it. Education, rehabilitation, mental health support and social inclusion are the rational ways to deal with radicalised people,” says Valerie Morse of Peace Action Wellington.

“Predictably, conservatives are advocating for extreme policing including the creation of a Guantanamo Bay-like situation where people are imprisoned indefinitely, and stripping people of citizenship. This is the response of authoritarians, not free peoples.”

“Their only answer to such events is more, more, more: more police, more prisons and more spies. The problem is that these responses don’t work. The Lynnmall situation is case in point: a programme of rehabilitation was ordered by the court for this person, but because the police continued to prosecute him and hold him in prison, this programme never eventuated.”

“That isn’t to say that rehabilitation and education always work. The issue is that neither does expanding terrorism laws. If we want total security then we give up the very freedoms that make New Zealand a free democracy. We can’t just keep making the scope of laws broader and broader. ”

“The proposed expansion of the Terrorism Suppression Act before the House goes too far in criminalising ‘thought crime’. At the same time, we have seen no effort by the New Zealand government to appropriately fund and resource efforts at deradicalisation, let alone appropriately fund mental health and refugee resettlement services.”

“If we boil it down, reactionaries just want to ‘lock ‘em up’ or ‘throw them out’. But unless we are prepared to keep people in prison forever - or deport them to create problems elsewhere like Australia does - then we need to be smarter about how we deal with these issues.”

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