It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis.
Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage situation we had National MP Mark Mitchell, who chaired the select committee which rushed the legislation through parliament in a disgraceful and undemocratic manner, saying the legislation was 100% justified in light of what was happening in Australia.
“It becomes a lot more real for people when it’s three hours across the ditch,” says Mitchell.
Labour’s Andrew Little joined in saying the risks the new law dealt with “are real.”
Prime Minister John Key went further and has linked the hostage crisis to an “ISIS outreach programme”.
These comments are political opportunism to justify the unjustifiable.
The laws rushed through last week by National and Labour allow for 24 hour warrantless surveillance of New Zealanders by the Security Intelligence Service and for New Zealanders passports to be cancelled for up to three years.
They add to the plethora of laws passed since 2001 which bring in the surveillance state with broad attacks on our civil liberties and the slow strangulation of our democracy.
It goes without saying that the Sydney siege was not prevented by similar laws in Australia and neither would this law make New Zealanders any safer from a similar incident.
In fact the greater danger New Zealand faces is from the behaviour of individuals such as Mark Mitchell who spent a decade in the Middle East supporting and profiting from the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq – classic blood parasite behaviour by a westerner of the sort which has stimulated retaliatory terrorist behaviour in countries outside the Middle East.
While I’m not advocating this step, New Zealand would be better protected from terrorism by withholding Mitchell’s passport than the laws passed last week to withhold the passports of others.
The best protection from terrorism for this country would be for New Zealand to unshackle itself from US global military and political objectives which are the drivers of 90% of worldwide terror attacks.
In the meantime the likes of Mitchell, Little and Key should show more respect for New Zealanders than promote political opportunism in the wake of the Sydney crisis.