New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has named an Algerian he claims is being held in custody as a suspected terrorist.
In Parliament yesterday, he named the man as Salah Eddine Bouta, aged 22.
If Mr Peters is correct, Bouta is the second suspected Algerian terrorist to be detained by New Zealand authorities – although the Government strenuously denies that it has any information indicating the man is a suspected terrorist.
The other man is Ahmed Zaoui, who has been in increasingly controversial detention since last December.
Mr Peters would not tell the Herald anything more about Bouta or his background following parliamentary question time yesterday, indicating he wanted to keep his powder dry for more revelations in the House next week.
On Tuesday in Parliament, Mr Peters accused the Government of again hushing up the detention of a suspected Algerian terrorist.
Yesterday, Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel told Mr Peters that the Immigration Service had not received any information from any other domestic or international agency alleging that another suspected Algerian terrorist was in custody.
But a service spokeswoman also said they had received no advice that anyone they were holding in custody was considered to be, or was suspected of being, a terrorist.
Mr Peters told the Herald yesterday that he knew the identify of both individuals, but was not yet ready to identify the other.
Asked how he knew Bouta was a suspected terrorist, Mr Peters replied: “Because I’ve got information”.
Earlier, Mr Peters attacked Ms Dalziel for refusing to answer questions about an issue of national security when she had answered questions on Mr Zaoui and three other “bogus refugees and fraudsters”.
Ms Dalziel said Mr Zaoui had waived his right to confidentiality under the Immigration Act.
Mr Peters also sought answers on how Bouta could have come all the way from Algeria and past “scores and scores of Muslim countries”, and why she had allowed New Zealand to be advertised as the softest touch in the world.
Ms Dalziel replied that she would be surprised if New Zealand was considered the softest touch given that the Government had instituted a much tougher immigration regime.