9 Dec 2014

Anti-terrorism legislation passed

9:54 pm on 9 December 2014

Parliament has passed new anti-terrorism laws under urgency.

The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill aims to intercept local supporters of the Islamic State group and will allow the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) to carry out surveillance without a warrant for 24 hours.

The Government bill passed its third reading tonight by 94 votes to 27.

Earlier it also passed its second reading by 94 votes to 27, and it was then debated clause by clause before passing its third reading.

The bill was split into: The Passports Amendment Bill, the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Services Amendment Bill.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson moved to clarify what the bill meant by terrorist fighter, after concerns from Labour.

Labour intends voting for the Bill but its foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer said it disagreed with the Attorney-General's definition of a terrorist.

Mr Shearer said Labour had a different view and it was debated widely during select committee consideration of the Bill.

Mr Finlayson told the House the term did not need specific definition in the bill because it was already outlined in the Terrorism Suppression Act.

"That definition is the core concept on which this legislation relies. Adding a definition of foreign fighter would be superfluous.

"We're targetting people by behaviour or intended behaviour, not by a label."

Mr Finlayson told the house the Government did not want New Zealanders caught up in the Islamic State conflict, or committing a terrorist act.

The Green Party and New Zealand First continue to oppose the bill, both saying it gives the SIS too much power.

NZ First leader Winston Peters told the House while improvements were made to the bill during the select committee process, it was not enough.

"We do not have enough confidence or trust in the Security Intelligence Service, given some of their recent offences and shortcomings, to allow these organisations such widely increased powers of surveillance."

It was appalling the Government put the extremely serious laws up at breakneck speed, Mr Peters said.

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