The Government is legislating at breakneck speed to pass a Bill it calls ""Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation"". It will allow the SIS to conduct video surveillance on private property, for a specific period of time without a warrant, and will enable New Zealand passports to be suspended for 10 days or even cancelled for up to three years.
All this, in case we harbour aspirant fighters for a fundamentalist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But experts like Richard Jackson of Otago University say the evidence shows that it is extremely rare for returning jihadists to commit terrorist acts in their home country. Is it wrong to create law, which offends our human rights, just to cover some very unlikely or exceptional future event?
And as Miky Savage said in an article, the claimed urgency of the measure is dubious.
You wonder why the Bill was introduced so late. And you have to question why a full select committee process cannot occur. The case for change has not been made out and the current system for issuing warrants can, if properly resourced, work perfectly adequately.
Keith Locke has recently submitted to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill. Not only did he criticise the speed with which this legislation is being rushed through the parliamentary process, he said that this bill challenges our basic rights as citizens. In this interview he talks about the bill and related issues.
Keith Locke was a Green Party Member of Parliament from 1999 to 2011. He is best known for his human rights and antiwar work not only through the Foreign Affairs portfolio he held through this period, but also under his other portfolios which included Human Rights, Immigration, Police, Ethnic Affairs and Defence.
He had a particular focus on settling disputes peacefully. Keith has been an international peace and social justice campaigner since the first anti-nuclear, anti-Vietnam war and anti-apartheid protests of the 1960s.
He was awarded “Backbencher of the Year” twice, first by the New Zealand Herald in 2002, and then by the Fairfax newspapers parliamentary team in 2010. He has been described as being ‘respected across party lines for his consistency and willingness to speak against the tide of public opinion’ during the so-called - war on terror - launched by US President George Bush.
Since leaving parliament Keith has been writing and commenting on peace and human rights issues, including on a regular basis on the Daily Blog.
Keith has previously been interviewed on GreenplanetFM on Security, Intelligence, Independence and Sovereignty.
This programme is sponsored by The Awareness Party.