Parliament has just passed legislation, 94 - 27, aimed at stopping would-be foreign fighters from leaving New Zealand to join Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq or from carrying out terrorist acts in New Zealand.

Labour supported it but leader Andrew Little condemned National for rushing it through the House, saying it was an "appalling" process that denied New Zealanders a say on the bill.

Greens MP Kennedy Graham said passing a bill the way it had was a "procedural abomination."

The legislation was passed, 94 to 27, under urgency with the Government insisting it needed to be passed before the House rises tomorrow.


The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill amends three existing laws to give the SIS greater powers of surveillance and to give the Minister of Internal Affairs greater powers to suspend and cancel passports.

The SIS will now be allowed to conduct surveillance on terrorist suspects without a warrant for 24 hours, to conduct video surveillance on private property, only in relation to suspected terrorism, and to have access to the Customs data in relation to suspected terrorism.

The Minister of Internal Affairs already has the power to cancel passports for 12 months but the minister will now be able to suspend a passport for up to 10 working days and to cancel passports for a period of up to three years.

The bill was introduced last week, and submissions were open for only two day. In that time 600 submissions were received and all of those who wanted to appear before the committee, 63, were heard over three days or nights.

Watch: Key on anti-terror legislation

Prime minister John Key speaks on changes to the anti-terror legislation.

It's provisions will expire in April 2017 and in the meantime a comprehensive review of intelligence agencies and security law will begin in July next year.

It was supported by National, Labour, United Future and Act, totaling 94 votes.

It was opposed by the Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party, totalling 27 votes.
Labour's foreign affairs spokesman, David Shearer, sat on the foreign affairs committee that considered the bill and said an issue that deserved more focus was the plight of our Muslim community.


"We have about 46,000 Muslims in New Zealand. They appeared in front of our select committee and made submissions. Their basic message was: 'We are the people on the front line. We are the people within this Muslim community from which some of these threats might emerge. When we hear about these it is in our interests as New Zealanders and as New Zealand Muslims to ensure that they get picked up on."

What they were saying was that they were not being listened to sufficiently.

"When it comes to halal butchery and slaughtering techniques, which New Zealand earns hundreds of millions of dollars a year from, they are feted and they are accepted and they are listened to.

"But when it comes to something like this, where their community is at possible threat, they are not. I think that we need to, as a matter of urgency, acknowledge and bring those people in."

SIS Minister Chris Finlayson said he took Mr Shearer's comments about the Muslim community on board and would involve them in the comprehensive review of the intelligence community beginning next year.

Mr Finlayson also said a definition of "foreign fighter" was not needed because the applicable definition was of terrorism in the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.


Under the act, an act of terrorism is carried out for the purpose of advancing an ideological, political, or religious cause with the intention of inducing terror in a civilian population or to unduly compel or force a government or international agency to do or abstain from doing any act of which the outcome is one or more of the following: death or serious injury; serious risk to the health or safety of a population; destruction or serious damage to property if it is likely to endanger human life or safety; interference with or disruption to infrastructure that is likely to endanger human life; and the release of disease bearing organisms that is likely to devastate the economy of a country.

The three existing acts amended by the legislation are the NZ Security Intelligence Service Act 1969 which will give the SIS more surveillance powers, the Customs and Excise Act 1996 which will give the SIS access to Customs database in relation to suspected terrorism; and the Passports Act 1992.