Terrorism is an affront to our freedom, human dignity and right to life. States like New Zealand have a legal and moral obligation to protect their citizens from terrorism and its effects, and to address and eradicate terrorism and its causes.
States like New Zealand also have a legal and moral obligation to protect their citizens' fundamental freedoms and human rights. To give away hard-won freedoms and rights too easily because terrorists have scared us is a win for terror.
Our Parliament and Executive face a difficult balancing act in protecting our right to life as well as our other freedoms and rights.
History teaches us that the greatest threat to life and liberty are people who are too sure they are right and others wrong. These people are the terrorists, the fascists, the totalitarians - including Islamic State.
The challenge for democracies like ours is to defend ourselves against these people without restricting our freedoms and rights so much that we hand these people a victory without a fight.
Short-term proportionate limits on our freedoms and rights can be justified for the time the threat is serious. We need to know what the threat is and what short-term and proportionate responses are proposed before we can make any judgment.
If we unreasonably fear terrorism, who is to blame? We are all to blame, cowering in fear and expecting our government to protect us no matter what the cost.
My Uncle William taught me this. He experienced the human costs of terror first-hand, leading the biggest accident and emergency unit in Northern Ireland from 1967 to 1987.
When I visited him in 1985 I asked if there were places in Belfast I shouldn't go. He looked at me very sternly and said: "You've more chance of being killed by a car, bomb or bullet in London than you have of being killed in Belfast by any of those things. Do not let them own you."
To prove his point he drove me straight into one of the areas most affected by The Troubles.
There were no bombings in Belfast when I was there but a few weeks later the Rainbow Warrior was bombed in Auckland. The bombers were members of our allies' secret services, not terrorists. New Zealanders should never forget all the lessons around the world, even in democratic countries, about how intelligence services can behave if not subject to proper authorisation and oversight processes.
Are we in danger of letting a fear of terrorists own us? We may be. I am saying let's be realistic about where the harm is being done and let's let our reactions be relative to the realities of the risks faced.
So the first message New Zealanders need to give all our politicians is that we care about our fundamental freedoms and human rights. The terms of reference for the Foreign Terrorists Review say regard will be given to these freedoms and rights and that is a good step.
The current proposals seem to have their genesis in a recent United Nations Security Council resolution calling on nations to restrict travel of their citizens to places like Syria.
It may be that the Government has determined New Zealand's passport law does not enable it to do what it thought it could. There may be some justification for restrictions. But we need to see the case and know that the proposed response is short-term and proportionate.
There is also reason for hope that the Government is saying the law will have a sunset clause related to the statutory review of intelligence services that is to start next year.
The second message New Zealanders need to give to our politicians is to stop the political point-scoring. All mainstream political parties in New Zealand are committed to democracy, freedom and human rights. Freedom and human rights are not the property of the left or the right of New Zealand politics; these freedoms and rights belong to all New Zealanders.
David Rutherford is the Chief Human Rights Commissioner.