Law change needed to strip citizenship from violent offenders

It’s time for the Government to initiate a process that would remove New Zealand citizenship or residency from a person who commits a violent act in our country, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

National believes the law change is needed after reports that yesterday’s terrorist attack was committed by a man who moved to New Zealand in 2011 and had previously been before the courts.

“There are many thousands of people who choose to make New Zealand their home, go through the process of obtaining residency and citizenship, and abide by the laws of our country.

“However, there are some who come to New Zealand and do not respect the laws that govern us all. National believes if you commit a dangerous crime then you should not get to keep your citizenship or residency. It is a privilege, not a right.

“I am offering National’s support to work constructively with the Government to make this change.

“I have also been in touch with Prime Minister and confirmed we will work in partnership with the Government to progress the counter-terrorism legislation, introduced earlier this year, through Parliament urgently.

“It was a gap in our counter terrorism law which meant this man couldn’t be prosecuted because the courts ruled preparing a terrorist attack was not an offence.

“Once again, on behalf of the National Party, I’d like to thank those who risked their lives to stop this man and send our thoughts and prayers to those injured and their families.

“It’s important for New Zealanders to remember that this ISIS-inspired terrorist is no more representative of Muslim Kiwis, than the Australian white supremacist who committed the horrific March 15 attacks. This is not a religious issue. It is a terrorist issue.”

Notes to editors:

The Immigration Minister may refuse to grant a visa to a person who does not pas the character test. The character test includes being sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more, or the person has been sentenced to two or more terms of imprisonment, where the total of those terms is 12 months or more.

If the Minister can refuse to grant a visa on these grounds, the they should be able to revoke a visa on the same grounds.