Urgent changes to the law introduced to combat the threat of "foreign fighters" will be in place until 2018, a draft copy of the legislation shows.

Prime Minister John Key released this afternoon the final draft of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill, which will be tabled in the House on Tuesday and is expected to be passed into law before the end of the year.

The legal changes follow Mr Key's speech on national security earlier this month, in which he outlined a number of urgent measures including passport cancellations and warrant-less searches.

Mr Key said at the time the measures were designed for the short-term and would be subject to a sunset clause. The draft bill shows the legislation will expire on April 1, 2018.


Mr Key said this deadline reflected the length of time it would take to complete a more comprehensive review of New Zealand's security and intelligence legislation.

This review was expected to begin in the middle of next year, but Government felt short-term measures were needed.

Mr Key said there were safeguards built into the legislation, and there would be time for a shortened select committee process before the bill was passed.

He was hoping to get cross-party support on the legislation and was discussing the changes with all parties in good faith.

The bill had also been shared with interested parties outside Parliament to allow them more time to consider it.

The changes were a response to the growing risk of radicalised fighters returning to New Zealand to carry out domestic attacks.

Mr Key said in a statement: "As I said earlier this month, New Zealand's risk and threat profile is changing and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been successful in recruiting New Zealanders to its cause."

New Zealand's domestic threat level was raised from very low to low last month, meaning a terrorist attack was possible but not likely.


Government has drawn up a watchlist of between 30 and 40 people "of concern in the foreign fighter context".

The legislation's key changes were:

• Extending the period the Minister of Internal Affairs can cancel a passport to up to three years from the existing law's 12 months.

• Giving the Minister of Internal Affairs the power to temporarily suspend passports for up to 10 working days in urgent cases.

• Allowing the NZ Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) to carry out video surveillance on private properties for the purpose of observing activities of security concern, modelled on the Police's powers in the Search and Surveillance Act

• Allowing the NZSIS to conduct emergency surveillance for up to 48 hours prior to the issue of a warrant, with the approval of its Director and subject to the oversight of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.