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Changes to the proposed Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill reflect the Greens’ mistrust of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies and place unnecessary hurdles in the way of ensuring New Zealanders’ safety, National’s Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“Labour and New Zealand First should have swallowed their pride, shunned the Greens and come back to National for a grown up discussion about keeping New Zealanders safe.

“Plain and simple this law is supposed to be about is protecting New Zealanders from terrorists or known terrorist associates who return to this country.

“If you’ve been in or around the business of terror you deserve to be monitored for the protection of everyone.

“The Green amendments agreed to by Andrew Little call into question the basis of any proposed protection orders from the outset by requiring the courts to pay extra scrutiny to ‘the validity, authenticity, and reliability’ of evidence the intelligence agencies deem appropriate to require someone to be subject to the law.

“The amendments also increase the threshold for imposition of an order by having the courts take regard of ‘a real risk to any identifiable person or people.’

“That is a significant raising of the threshold.

“We are talking about people who have been on the radar of the intelligence agencies for some time, who everyday New Zealanders would expect to be subject to a higher degree of scrutiny and oversight when they return to this country.

“These changes will weaken the hand of our intelligence agencies and bog proposed suppression orders down in the courts.

“It will be a field day for activist lawyers and seriously risks New Zealanders’ safety.”

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