Thursday, July 26, 2007

Speaks for itself

How much terrorism is there in New Zealand?

With the government again pushing to strengthen anti-terrorism laws (this time by creating a redunandant general offence of terorism and repealing the "loophole" which allows people to collect funds "for the purpose of advocating democratic government or the protection of human rights"), you'd get the impression that the country was awash with terrorists and that existing law had proven inadequate to combat the threat - that terrorists and their funders were walking free from our courtrooms on "technicalities", and that the law had to be strengthened (despite the significant erosion of our civil liberties) in order to ensure that these people could be prosecuted. But you'd be wrong. According to the police crime statistics (thoughtfully incorporated into StatisticsNZ's Table Builder), there have been exactly zero recorded offences against the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 since it was passed. No financing, no recruiting, no participaton in terrorist groups,and certainly no bombings. The closest we come is stupid people making fake bomb threats or sending talcum powder through the mail.

So, why do we need to strengthen the law (and erode our civil liberties) again?