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Kiwis who lost passports under new terror laws 'walking free'

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Friday, 7 December 2018, 8:48a.m.
Eight Kiwis have had their passports torn up since 2014. Photo / Mark Mitchell

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.

Terror and Security expert, Paul Buchanan, told Mike Hosking cancelling peoples' passports doesn't change their ideology.

"They committed no crime so they are walking free and I imagine that it's a bit scary to know these eight guys are walking around."

"It's clear they are being monitored but they are walking around the streets of New Zealand and if they are still angry and resentful and bitter, they pose a domestic terrorism threat, that's the scary part of it. On the other hand, they were caught and they are clearly being monitored."

The drastic measures were taken based on information from the SIS that the individuals concerned were a "national security threat".

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.

One of the cases involves a Melbourne-based New Zealand woman who had her passport cancelled in May 2016 on national security grounds.

However, the legislation - which is also designed to protect New Zealand from domestic terror attacks - is not understood to have affected New Zealanders who have gone to Syria or Iraq to join the fight against Isis.

"It looks like if you go to fight with the Kurdish forces the authorities will allow you to go," Buchanan said.

"The authorities will stop you if you want to join a designated terrorist entity such as ISIS. If on the other hand, you want to go fight for another group that isn't a designated terrorist entity by the UN or out authorities then you are free to go."

"That distinction is a good one, you're looking closely at the cause and what they are intending to do and they determine, well ISIS is clearly bad so you're not going.

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