22 Oct 2019

New terrorism legislation faces first reading in Parliament

7:04 am on 22 October 2019

New terrorism legislation is up for its first reading in Parliament this evening, but it's unclear whether it will have the numbers to pass.

Andrew Little speaks to media at parliament 30 April 2019

Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Justice Minister Andrew Little met with National MPs last night to try reach a consensus on the Bill, which would boost powers to deal with returning foreign fighters from Syria.

The meeting came after days of National leader Simon Bridges and Mr Little trading insults, accusing each other of irresponsible comments and political grandstanding.

Mr Little described the meeting as "useful", however there was no resolution by late evening.

The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill would give police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders, such as Mark Taylor, who have engaged in terrorism related activities overseas.

The Greens are not backing the Bill, meaning National's support is needed to get it over the line.

Last week National put forward several proposed amendments to "strengthen" the Bill, including lowering the age limit for them from 18 to 14 and increasing the term of imprisonment to five years - something Mr Little swiftly ruled out.

Mr Bridges said unless Mr Little negotiated with National in good faith, it would pull its support for the Bill.

Last night Mr Little said in a statement: "The conversation with Simon Bridges today was useful, and I am considering some of their proposals on this issue. The Bill contains essential changes to ensure New Zealanders are protected from returning foreign terrorist fighters".

A spokesperson for National said that they received several phone calls from Mr Little's office following their meeting last night.

However, they said discussions and negotiations were still ongoing.

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