Thursday, 27 November 2014

submission on countering terrorist fighters bill

ok, so i'm doing this submission in a rush so it's far from perfect.  but it's something at least & we are restricted by this government who only gave us a couple of days to submit on the bill.

some links:
 - the bill is here
 - you can make an online submission by scrolling to the bottom of the page here, entering the text in the box then clicking on the "make a submission" box (yeah, it took me a while to figure that out because i'm terrible with technology, so i thought i'd spell it out).
 - I/S has a good list of points
 - action station have some questions for you to consider
 - i have a copy of the briefing paper put out by the human rights commission prior to the bill being made publicly available.  i haven't been able to find it online, so can provide it to people if they want to give me their email address.  you can contact me at info at anjum dot co dot nz.

so the main points of my submission:
 - i strongly objected to the very short consultation period and have asked the committee to ensure adequate time for proper consultation, and to hear everyone that wants to be heard.
 - i stated that the government hasn't made a case for stronger measures on terrorism.  they are already aware of some 60 to 80 individuals who may pose a risk.  they are aware of the number of nz'ers who are fighting overseas.  this suggests present laws are sufficient
 - i objected to the SIS having the ability to conduct surveillance for any length of time, without requiring a warrant.  no-one should have their privacy violated without sufficient evidence.
 - similarly, there should be no ability to suspend a passport without evidence.  i noted that innocent people might be prevented from attending family events like weddings or funerals, or professional events such as conferences.  there needs to be a case made to allow them to do that.
 - i talked about famous overseas cases where innocent people had been unfairly held, including yusuf islam & shah rukh khan. although this relates to different laws in different jurisdictions, it shows how easy it is for security agencies to get things wrong.
 - i also referenced the IGIS report released this week & the GCSB spying illegally on over 80 people as giving little confidence that increased powers will be used in a proper manner.
 - i referenced the HRC briefing paper, which had a paragraph noting that infringement on the rights of freedom of expression and privacy threaten the foundations of a democratic society.
- i talked about people having the right to see evidence that was being used against them (or at least that their legal counsel should have access to this information) and that a person should be able to challenge any decision that has restricted their human rights.  this is all part of natural justice.

i've asked to be heard by the committee, let's see how that works.  apparently, only a select group of people are going to have the ability to present to the committee, and those people have already been informed.  since i wasn't informed, i'm guessing that they won't give me a chance, which is highly unfair.

anyway, if you get any time tomorrow, please do put in a submission, even if it is a very short one.

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