ACT proposes law changes to counter-terrorism

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David Seymour (INL Photo)

David Seymour
Auckland, September 5, 2021

The ACT Party has proposed three law changes in response to the Lynn Mall terror attack.

ACT stands with all New Zealanders in condemning what happened in Auckland.

We now need a careful and considered response to balance preventing attacks like this on the one hand and rushing through law with unintended consequences on the other.

Status of the dead terrorist

We first ask, how the terrorist could be a Protected Person but not a refugee? His refugee status was based on fear of torture, kidnappings, and extortion among other threats, but he lost that status for being fraudulent. 

At the same time, he was not detained and left at large to commit his terrorist act because Crown Law advised he was likely to be a protected person and therefore unlikely to be deported. These two determinations seem incompatible.

Many New Zealanders will be asking how this man was allowed in the community.

Based on that simple question, ACT is proposing three changes:

Amend s164 of the Immigration Act, so that a person’s danger to New Zealand can be weighed against the threat of their home country to them. At present, s164 says that a person cannot be deported if they are a ‘protected person.’ That is protection for them, ACT says that protection must be balanced against the threat they pose to New Zealanders.

Amend the Immigration Act so that a person awaiting deportation or who cannot be deported for reasons of international law can be given detention in New Zealand if they are a threat to national security. If a person cannot be deported due to international obligations, the government should be able to use detention to protect New Zealanders.

A Preparation Crime, where a person is guilty of the crime of preparing to commit terrorism, becomes a crime.

Multiple Bills needed

Rather than rushing, if anything the government should pause to consider what we have learned, we may need to make different changes than we previously thought. 

The current Bill before the Select Committee should be separated into multiple bills, one to do the simple and immediate changes, if applicable. Another bill should be given an extension of time in Select Committee to consider new information in light of the Lynn Mall attack.

David Seymour is Member of Parliament elected from Epsom and Leader of ACT Party.

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