NZ "terrorism" in perspective   |   Indigenous peoples' rights

Maori Law Commissioner wants terror law repealed

11 November 2007

The high-profile lawyer and Maori Law Commissioner Moana Jackson says the Terrorism Suppression Act should be repealed, not just reviewed by the Law Commission.

He says if the Government was serious about accepting there are flaws in the legislation, it would stop all debate over amending it.

He says it would be contradictory for the Government to continue with any amendment to the Act. Mr Jackson says everyone should be concerned about the Act in its present form.

The lawyer says his decision to resign as a patron for a police recruiting wing was prompted by the recent police raids. He says he could not stand by the people of Ruatoki, the Bay of Plenty town at the centre of the raids, and the institution of the police at the same time.

Mr Jackson says he does not accept that there was no political involvement in the raids, and wants a full and thorough investigation of police conduct.

Civil liberties advocate and lawyer Barry Wilson has seized on the Solicitor-General's recommendation that the Act be reviewed. Mr Wilson says the select committee failed by letting such a poorly drafted bill pass, and that there are many other examples of flawed bills passing into law.

He described as lazy the legislators who approved the Terrorism Suppression Act and said members of the Foreign Affairs and Defence select committee who passed the law failed to analyse the legislation properly. He says its members - excluding Green MP Keith Locke - should be held accountable for failing in their duty.

The Green Party says the Terrorism Suppression Act was rushed through because the Government got panicked by the events of September 11.

Mr Locke agrees the select committee did not do it all it could have, and says it did not take enough notice of about 150 submissions from civil liberty and community groups. He says the Act should not be amended until a serious review has been completed.

  • Raid details must stay confidential - Iti lawyer
  • Meanwhile, the lawyer for Maori activist Tame Iti says she is in no doubt Solicitor-General David Collins will take action against anyone leaking suppressed information over last month's nationwide police raids.

    Mr Iti and four others arrested were released on bail on Friday after Dr Collins ruled that police could not lay terrorism charges against them. They and others still face charges under the Arms Act

    There have been calls for information gathered during a police investigation and the subsequent raids last month to be made public.

    Among those being pressured are the 17 people arrested during the operation. However, Mr Iti's lawyer, Annette Sykes, says she has had a letter from Dr Collins acknowledging her concerns about trial by media and has no doubt he will be acting to make sure people get a fair trial.

    Radio New Zealand

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