Remember the brother of NZ Islamic State leader was also one of the many Kiwi’s fighting for Islamic State over in Syria! How many other Aotearoa Maori Muslim Association members are over there after being offered free scholarships overseas to study Islam?
Police will soon have powers to tackle ‘Kiwi jihadi’ Mark Taylor if he returns to New Zealand.
The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill, which will strengthen counter-terrorism laws and support the de-radicalisation of extremist New Zealanders returning from overseas, passed its third reading on Thursday with support from all three Government parties, meaning it will soon become law.
It gives police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on those who have been involved in terrorist activities.
This includes orders include restricted access to the internet and prohibiting the returnee from associating with specified people.
Justice Minister Andrew Little said the Bill was a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who had engaged in terrorism-related activities while overseas.
“Police have an essential new tool to protect the public from people who pose a real risk.”
It did this in a way that balanced the rights of people subject to control orders, he said.
“The Bill has been developed as an urgent response to developments in Syria, but it applies to any terrorism-related activity conducted by New Zealanders overseas, including by right wing extremists and white supremacists.”
It was designed in a way that was consistent with New Zealand’s human rights laws, he said.
It is understood MPs were told the law needed to passed quickly because there was a high chance returnees could come back before Christmas.
On Thursday, Little was asked for an update on Taylor or other returning terrorists who may make their way back before Christmas and said: “There is nothing I can say publicly”.
When asked if there was still a risk, he said there was always a risk.
“Anything could happen at any time – there is such a fluid situation in Syria and in Southern Syria in particular.”
During the third reading Little said the Bill had been characterised as weak by the Opposition during debates in the House but that was “wrong”.
“This [law] provides extraordinary powers that do not apply to any other citizen but we need that because of the risk posed. I just think it’s unfortunate that on matters of national security, some think that it is ok to get into rhetoric and puffing out their chest … that is not appropriate, it is not good for New Zealand and and I’m disappointed,” Little said.
The review of the Terrorism Act would continue and a comprehensive range of proposals would be brought back to Parliament next year, he said.
The path to the law passing saw a war of words between Little and the National Party and then a last-minute deal with the Green Party.
At the time, Little said he felt “dicked around” by the lack of support from the Opposition.
He hit out at the Opposition for playing “jiggery-pokery” with national security and “tearing down the citadel”.
During the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee process, MPs were unable to reach agreement on whether to recommend the Bill be passed, or agree on amendments negotiated by the Greens.
The Government Bill did not need the support of the Opposition to pass on Thursday.
National Party Justice spokesman Mark Mitchell said the Government had put the safety of New Zealanders at risk by forging ahead with a weak law that did not go far enough.
It completely failed at its first test of being able to detain someone at the border long enough until a control order had been issued by the High Court, he said.
The law would see the hand of intelligence agencies weakened and bog any proposed suppression orders down in the courts, he said.
“Labour and New Zealand First have sold out to the Green Party. Justice Minister Andrew Little had the opportunity to work with the National Party in good faith to put forward a strong Bill, but instead he chose to placate the Green Party with weak provisions that do not provide optimal protection for New Zealanders’ safety.