TODAY |

Justice Minister feels 'a little dicked around' by National over proposed terrorism laws


The Justice Minister says he feels "a little dicked around" by National over the proposed terrorism laws he is trying to implement before a possible return of overseas fighters, such as Kiwi jihadist Mark Taylor.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The proposed law is set to be introduced today in preparation for the possible return of overseas fighters such as Mark Taylor. Source: 1 NEWS

But, National have pushed back, saying the legislation in its current form would only keep New Zealanders "half-safe".

The Government announced last week a bill to "prevent terrorism and de-radicalise New Zealanders coming back from overseas" as tensions have risen in Syria. It comes after US troops were pulled from northern Syria and Turkish forces moved in, increasing the possibility of foreign ISIS fighters returning home.  

Your playlist will load after this ad

Andrew Little joined Breakfast to discuss the bill, which was announced yesterday. Source: Breakfast

"Day by day the situation in Syria... is changing," Mr Little told media today. "The likelihood a New Zealand passport holder from that region will come back to New Zealand or will want to come back to New Zealand is rising by the day.

"We have to be prepared in the appropriate means, that's what this bill does."

However, the bill has not seen favour from all sides. 

The Green Party immediately pulled support, with MP Golriz Ghahraman calling the legislation "outdated American style War On Terror policies, that breach human rights, risk criminalising political activists, and undermine our criminal justice processes". 

National said it would support the bill through First Reading so it can seek changes to "strengthen the legislation".

Your playlist will load after this ad

Foreign policy expert Robert Patman joined Breakfast to discuss the bill, which receives its first reading in Parliament today. Source: Breakfast

Mr Bridges wanted changes to the proposed law to include lowering the age limit to include those aged 14 years and older, and to increase the maximum duration of control orders. 

National then said Mr Little would need to meet with them to discuss the changes, or risk losing their support. 

It now appears the parties are at a stalemate. Mr Little said there were four points of the bill he went back to the National Party on.

"They sent us an email saying they would support the rule to First Reading, that's pretty standard. Hours later they start putting conditions on it, that's the politicking, that's not good faith.

"Their response so far is that they want more, I said no to that, so I'm waiting to hear from them.

"Frankly, I do feel a little dicked around by them."

National leader Simon Bridges denied 'dicking around' Mr Little, saying, "we're not going to let New Zealanders be half-safe when it comes to terrorism". 

"There's many unknowns here we need to safeguard against, that have been seen in every other comparable jurisdiction over the last few years.

"I want to make sure we're not doing half the job, we're doing the job properly."

Mr Little said he told National and the Green Party it was a "matter of national security". 

"I think it's wrong for any party in Parliament to be mucking around on this sort of issue... I'm confident however, we will get the bill through one way or another. 

"I guess what I'm disappointed on is that this is national security, it's a pretty obvious, credible risk that could come on shores anytime in the next few months.

"I don't think it would sit easily on anyone's shoulders that we go into the Christmas break and we do not give our police the means to deal with a small group... who could go back into New Zealand anytime in the next few months."