Media release: Council refuses to take part in farcical submissions process for Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill
27th November 2014
The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties refuses to take part in the submissions process around the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill.
Thomas Beagle, Chairperson, "Giving people just two days to make a submission is farcical. It's a parody of proper consultation and New Zealand's democratic process."
Any group wishing to submit on such a Bill needs enough time to read the proposed legislation and prepare a considered response. There is normally a process of talking to members and circulating a draft. Many civil society groups are run by volunteers who do this work in their own time, fitting it in around family and jobs.
The Council believes that the select committee process is a valuable part of our democracy. Laws are often significantly improved by submissions and the work of the committee. It is clear that there is no intention of this being true for this Bill.
The lack of consultation and consideration is particularly disturbing when the main changes of the bill, expanding the surveillance powers of the SIS, do not seem to be closely linked to the stated aim of the Bill. It also comes at a time when the actions of the SIS have been shown once again to be unwise and an abuse of power.
Furthermore, we cannot see any need for this legislation to be so rushed. While the aim of the Bill may be admirable, there is no justification for this unseemly urgency.
Thomas Beagle, "We refuse to help legitimise this fake consultation by taking part in it. The Government should withdraw this Bill until such time as it can be properly considered in accordance with normal practice."
The full text of our anti-submission is attached.