We have long warned that the problem with allowing human-rights abridging special powers to cope with "terrorism" is that over time, the meaning of the word will be expanded so that these exceptional laws can be used for more and more mundane offenses.
This is made clear in the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill that risks turning any form of normal protest at sea into an act of terrorism, thereby justifying draconian punishments and the full force of state surveillance and intervention.
Radio NZ reports on the submissions to the Maritime Crime Amendment Bill:
Submitter after submitter warned the Foreign Affairs and Defence Select Committee that, under the government's Maritime Crime Amendment Bill, acts of civil disobedience at sea - such as boarding or damaging a warship - could be classified as terrorism.
And the lack of understanding of National MP David Bennett is disturbing. Terrorism now includes getting in the way of a foreign warship?
Government MP and committee member David Bennett said anyone who got in the way of a foreign warship was clearly a terrorist. "This is a foreign power's vessel, a military vessel, you're getting in the way of it - so it is a terrorist act on a foreign country isn't it," he said.
The NZ Council for Civil Liberties also made a written submission.