23 Oct 2019

Bridges v Little: War of words continues over terrorism bill

12:43 pm on 23 October 2019

National's leader Simon Bridges says a bill imposing restrictions on people returning after fighting for extremist groups would only keep New Zealanders "half safe".

Simon Bridges and Andrew Little

Simon Bridges and Andrew Little. Photo: RNZ

The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill would apply to anyone who had been involved in terrorist activities. It was scheduled to have its first reading last night, but has now been shunted down the list.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said the bill was initially supported by National but since that changes, he's been left struggling to get enough votes to pass the first reading.

National confirmed its support via email last week, with no conditions attached, but now would not follow through with that commitment, Mr Little said.

"After that they then tried to seek conditions, I met with them to talk about that ... they haven't indicated they will support it so frankly, I do feel a little dicked around by them."

Mr Bridges told Morning Report the changes suggested by National were dismissed by Mr Little.

"We've always been clear that the law needs to be strengthened. We can't leave New Zealanders half safe."

He said the way Mr Little was going about the orders, it was like "playing Russian roulette with terrorists".

"We want to support the law, we would support the law, but we needed it to be strengthened."

He said his party had put forward a "detailed, sensible" proposal.

One of the changes proposed were about the maximum duration of the orders.

"Andrew Little dismissed them out of hand."

Mr Bridges said he wanted to address the bill and its condition seriously.

"The ball is now in Mr Little's court. All we've ever wanted to do is support a law but see it strengthened to see New Zealanders fully safe from terrorism."

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