Thursday, February 10, 2005

Ex post facto criminalisation III

The Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill (No 2) passed its first reading today, and has been referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee. This is another bill I'll have to submit on, because while the primary object (tidying up the rules regarding renewing the designation of terrorist groups) is uncontentious, part of it criminalises "the intentional financing of non-designated terrorist organisations". As I've argued here and here, this is extremely vague, to the extent that people will have no possible way of knowing whether they are violating the law or not.

Countries where the laws are secret and decisions as to what is and isn't criminal are made by anonymous security officials are rightly known as despotisms - yet that is what our government is proposing to do in the name of fighting terrorism. It's not something we should tolerate. If we want New Zealand to remain a free and democratic society, then we must take a stand for legal transparency, and oppose this part of the bill.