National Leader Simon Bridges has issued the Government with an ultimatum over its support of the new terrorism bill: meet with National to discuss its demands or the party will entirely pull its support for the proposed law.
If Justice Minister Andrew Little – who is in charge of the legislation – ignores Bridges' challenge, the bill will fail.
Yesterday, Bridges said National would support the first reading of the bill – which aims to de-radicalise New Zealanders returning from overseas – through the first reading.
But National want a number of changes, including reducing the age limit of those who would be targeted by law from 18 to 14.
Bridges would not say if proposed changes were a bottom line for National supporting the bill in its second and third reading.
Without National's support, the bill would not become law as the Greens have committed to voting against it.
Greens foreign affairs spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman said the bill has the implication of catching people who are not terrorists and was "dog-whistling" the old war-on-terror language.
In a statement this morning, Bridges upped the ante.
"Andrew Little needs to commit to a meeting with National next week and show that he will work with us in good faith and in the interest of National Security, or we will pull our support before first reading."
Little yesterday rubbished National's proposed changes and said they were "a bit silly".
Speaking to RNZ this morning, he attacked National and its proposed changes to the bill.
"What I don't want to see happening is when we take practical, reasonable measures to protect the safety of the New Zealand community, that we don't get into some crude, mindless bidding war with the National Party who just want to show, for some reason, that they are somehow hairier chested than us – that is not a useful debate to have."
But Bridges claimed National's proposed changes to the bill are about keeping New Zealanders safe.
"Andrew Little being so quick to dismiss [the proposed changes] without even meeting with us is arrogant and could put lives at risk."
Given the Greens won't support the bill, Bridges said that Little needed to re-write it so it represents the wider Parliament.