Harawira accuses 'state forces' of terrorism

Parliament was embroiled in another heated debate on terrorism last night and a Maori Party MP was accused of effectively justifying anarchy.

Hone Harawira was on his feet again during the committee stage debate on a bill that strengthens New Zealand's terrorism suppression laws.

It is strongly supported by Labour, National and New Zealand First against the opposition of the Greens and the Maori Party.

Mr Harawira said the sort of terrorism the bill referred to seemed to be the American definition.

"I don't understand terrorism as it is understood by those fuelled by the jingoistic, acid-drenched, hate-filled, anti-Islamic, death to anyone from the Middle East, vitriolic, poisonous claptrap that the United States is trying to foist upon the rest of the world.

"And when I think about terrorism in this country, I've got to ask again - what about the terror of the state? What about the terror imposed on communities?"

Mr Harawira said last month's police raids imposed terror on communities and activists around the country.

"I will not sit quietly by while the state forces terrorise my people ... I will challenge the rule of law and I will oppose the rule of law if terrorism is a vehicle being used by the state forces of this country to terrorise Maori communities."

National MP Wayne Mapp said Mr Harawira took an oath two years ago when he became an MP to uphold the laws of New Zealand. "And what does he say today? He doesn't believe in the rule of law.

"What does he believe in? The rule of anarchy, because that is what he is effectively justifying today."

Mr Mapp said Mr Harawira had a duty as an MP to uphold the rule of law. "The alternative does not bear thinking about."

National's foreign affairs spokesman, Murray McCully, said he had a simple reason for supporting the bill. "There are some very, very bad people out there in the world today.

"These are people who drive planes into buildings. These are people who put bombs in cars and drive them into nightclubs. These are people who kill in cold blood ... they don't play by any rule book."

The legislation under debate was the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill.

It creates a new offence of committing an act of terrorism, under penalty of a life sentence, allows courts to consider classified information without giving it to defendants, and gives the Prime Minister responsibility for designating groups and individuals as terrorists.

Green Party MP Keith Locke tried to amend it by tightening the definition of a terrorist act, but his proposal was voted down 109-10. Only the Maori Party backed him.

The bill completed its committee stage and has one more stage to go before it becomes law.

- NZPA

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