Submission on The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill

November 10, 2019

This Bill represents another episode in a sad litany of reactionary ‘anti-terrorism’ measures since 2001. In so many cases, both overseas and in New Zealand, basic democratic and human rights standards have been set aside to respond to situations that are almost infinitesimal in relation to the ‘normal’ instances of crime and violence occurring in society. Such a manufactured crisis has resulted in a steady expansion of the powers of ‘security’ agencies and the developing framework for future human rights abuses under more authoritarian governments.

Specifically, the Bill presents serious problems for a fully democratic society as following:

1.       As in previous legislation, defining ‘terrorist-related activities’ is entirely dependent on the orientation of the specifier.

a.       Note, for example, that recently California has listed the National Rifle Association as a terrorist organisation;

b.       Note that in many countries active opposition to the government of the day is treated as ‘terrorism’;

c.       Would a New Zealand citizen who took part in protest against the Hong Kong government be prosecuted under this law?

2.       NZ law must continue to be based absolutely on the premise that no one is deemed guilty until convicted in a court of law. This Bill violates this fundamental principle.

a.       Note that the majority of ‘terrorists’ captured and sent to Guantanamo Bay were later released (sometimes years later) without being proven guilty.

b.       Note that in the Zouai case, ‘guilt’ based on erroneous overseas evidence took years to overturn.

c.       Note that John Key was happy to have a NZ citizen killed in Yemen by drone attack with no investigation into criminality. Condemning citizens for unsubstantiated  overseas activity ‘without the level of evidence needed for a criminal prosecution’ is a gateway to governmental abuse.

3.       This Bill represents a trend of ever-expanding powers for security agencies in the absence of any real ‘threat’. No person has been convicted of a ‘terrorist’ threat in this country since French agents murdered a Greenpeace activist. Compared to serious crimes of violence in this country ‘terrorism’ is a nonstarter – but necessary to justify the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on ‘security’ and to justify Andrew Little’s subservience to the Five Eyes establishment.

4.       The process of this Bill, in itself, is a blatant demonstration of disdain for democratic and human rights integrity. There is no necessity for urgency and the lack of time given for considered submissions is a disgrace.