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New terror laws snare eight Kiwis

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Friday, 7 December 2018, 7:17a.m.
Eight New Zealand citizens have had passports cancelled, withdrawn, or applications refused. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

Terror laws created to block Kiwis leaving to fight for Islamic State have resulted in eight people having New Zealand passports torn up since the new laws were introduced.

The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Act, passed in December 2014, amended three existing laws to bolster New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) surveillance capacity and to give the Minister of Internal Affairs greater powers to suspend and cancel passports.

Senior lecturer at Massey University, John Battersby told Kate Hawkesby there are a few key reasons someone might have their passport torn up.

"People who have probably been recognised as expressing an intention to go and join an organisation that is committing terrorist acts overseas, there is a range of those."

"Or they are engaging with online material and being invited by others who are overseas to head over to war zones and participate in the activity that's going on over there."

Over 2015 and 2016, three people had passport applications refused under the terror laws. A further four in the same period had passports cancelled. The eighth person had their passport scrapped last year.

Battersby said the number of people being stopped is proportionate to our population.

"I seem to disagree with others, I think yes, it is proportionate. I don't think it matters to our population, I think it matters to the number of people who might be engaging with this online stuff."

"The SIS has constantly indicated around about 30 to 40 New Zealanders are being watched by them. They are concerned about that number of people who might be intending to do something. So eight over the time you have mentioned, I don't think is out of proportion with those numbers."

New Zealand is just exposed to terrorist propaganda as any other country, he said.

"The online progoganda is aimed at Europe and America, it's aimed to try to encourage people to undertake attacks in those places but because there are no borders on the internet anyone could be vulnerable and engage with that stuff."

"It's very unlikely here but because we are connected to the internet, because we have people who could be vulnerable to engage with the material that's on there we can't rule it out."

"I think it's unlikely here but we can't rule it out, we can't say it;'s not a possibility here because the ideas are being put out through the internet to anyone who will engage with them."

"I think it's remote, I don't think it's very likely but I couldn't say it will never happen here."

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