The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill will dramatically erode human rights and civil liberties if passed in its current form, said the Human Rights Lawyer’s Association Aotearoa New Zealand (HRLA).
The HRLA made a written submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee yesterday opposing the Bill on the basis it unjustifiably encroaches upon important human rights and civil liberties.
“One of our biggest concerns is that the Select Committee period is extremely short,” said HRLA co-chair Andrew Britton.
“There is insufficient time for analysis and examination of the Bill which means New Zealanders cannot engage in the legislative process in a meaningful way.
“We are particularly concerned about the human rights breaches that New Zealanders will be subject to in relation to passport law changes and giving the Security and Intelligence Service expanded powers for visual surveillance.
“The HRLA is doubtful about the ‘stop-gap’ nature of this Bill as the sunset clause currently expires in April 2018; this is an extremely long time.
“The Committee needs to turn its mind to how the Bill will operate in practice, as there are a number of concerns with access to justice when dealing with classified or secret information.
“We strongly urge the Government to engage in proper consultation of and engagement with the public and interested parties before the Bill is progressed,” said Mr Britton.