In 2014 the National government passed the ‘Countering Terrorist Foreign Fighters Bill’. The law allows for surveillance by intelligence agencies without a warrant for 24 hours and the cancellation of passports of those suspected of involvement in terrorism for three years.
By Geraldine Pinao, CWI NZ/Aotearoa
The bill was supported by the opposition Labour Party, who similarly passed a range of ‘anti-terror’ laws in 2002. Those laws were subsequently used to target left activists and M?ori, including raids on a M?ori (Ng?i T?hoe) community.
The passage of the 2014 bill, which was passed with limited opportunity for discussion, was heavily criticised. Even right-wing Fairfax newspaper editors questioned the passing of a law to counter a non-existent threat, and linked it to building up a case for New Zealand’s involvement in imperialist wars in the Middle East.
Islamic leaders have warned that the laws are likely to be used against the Muslim community, and that Muslims are already being abused because of fear-mongering by the government.
The laws give even more power to agencies that have proven to be unaccountable and have a history of abuse of their power. For all those who disagree with the status quo in New Zealand, these laws are an ominous sign.