Draft Foreign Fighters Bill

Prime Minister John Key has released the final draft of legislation which addresses the rising threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters.



. . .“Following a narrow and tightly focused review of our settings in relation to foreign terrorist fighters, Cabinet has signed off on proposals that will strengthen our ability to deal with the evolving threat we are seeing,” Mr Key says.



“As I said earlier this month, New Zealand’s risk and threat profile is changing and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been successful in recruiting New Zealanders to its cause.


“I have been as open as I can be with New Zealanders about that threat, without overstating it.



“This draft legislation contains measures that can add to the safety and security of New Zealand in the short-term.



“A more comprehensive review of legislative settings will occur in a broader intelligence review that is required under law to begin by the middle of next year.



“I am working to seek broad political support for this legislation and my office is conducting those talks in good faith with a number of parties.



“We have also shared the draft legislation with a number of interested parties outside Parliament in order to give them additional time to consider it.



“It is my intention that the legislation will be introduced on Tuesday and be passed before the House rises for Christmas, so that we are in a stronger position to deal with the threats our agencies are seeing.



“There are safeguards built into the legislation and it will go before a select committee for a short period of consideration.



“The legislation is also subject to a sunset clause which reflects how long the full process of the more comprehensive review is expected to take,” Mr Key says.



The main proposals contained in the legislation and which have been previously flagged by the Prime Minister are:

  • Extending the period the Minister of Internal Affairs can cancel a passport to up to three years from the existing law’s 12 months
  • Giving the Minister of Internal Affairs the power to temporarily suspend passports for up to 10 working days in urgent cases
  • Allowing the NZ Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) to carry out video surveillance on private properties for the purpose of observing activities of security concern, modelled on the Police’s powers in the Search and Surveillance Act
  • Allowing the NZSIS to conduct emergency surveillance for up to 48 hours prior to the issue of a warrant, with the approval of its Director and subject to the oversight of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.

This sort of legislation needs scrutiny but it should be beyond party politics.

The world is too small a place to think that small and far away as we are, New Zealand need not worry about the growing threat from terrorism.

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