Urgent action alert - Public submissions on the Countering
26 November 2014
What an extraordinary couple of days ... firstly, yesterday - on the day the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released a report highlighting inadequacies around the release of "incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information" by the SIS - the government introduced the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill to expand its powers, pushed through the first reading of the legislation and referred it to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee with a reporting back deadline of Tuesday, 2 December 2014.
As of this morning, the 'Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill' page on the parliament web site clearly stated "submissions not called for", but during the course of today, that has been changed to "Public submissions are now being invited on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill", with a deadline of tomorrow, Thursday, 27 November 2014. Unbelievable, perhaps a 24 hour public submissions time frame is now considered to be good democratic process?!
In the event that you or your organisation would like to make a submission by tomorrow's deadline - even if only briefly to say that changes of this magnitude expanding both the SIS and Ministerial powers should not be enacted in such a short time frame without sufficient time for consideration; the scenarios outlined as potentially "requiring" this change appear to be already covered by existing counter-terrorism and criminal law, the Passports Act 1992 and arguably the Mercenary Activities (Prohibition) Act 2004; and if there are gaps, a comprehensive well-considered review must be done to identify those in advance of any new expansion of state surveillance and Ministerial powers, such as around suspension of passports - links to information on how to make a submission on the legislation are included below.
The closing date for submissions is Thursday, 27 November 2014
This is an omnibus bill, introduced under Standing Order 263(a), that proposes amendments to the Customs and Excise Act 1996, the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969, and the Passports Act 1992.
The bill is available online here.
The committee requires 2 copies of each submission if made in writing. Those wishing to include any information of a private or personal nature in a submission should first discuss this with the clerk of the committee, as submissions are usually released to the public by the committee. Those wishing to appear before the committee to speak to their submissions should state this clearly and provide a daytime telephone contact number. To assist with administration please supply your postcode and an email address if you have one.
Contact details: Committee Secretariat, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Parliament Buildings, Wellington. Phone +64 4 817 9539, fax +64 4 499 0486, email