The Government's anti-terrorism bill looks set to pass as the Green Party has swung in behind it, leaving National's demands in limbo.
The Terrorism Suppression Bill was set to be introduced this week, but it was delayed after the Government lacked the numbers for the bill to pass; the Greens called it too tough while National had called it too weak.
Justice Minister Andrew Little and National leader Simon Bridges blamed each other over the failure to negotiate bipartisan consensus, which is common on national security issues.
But the impasse has been broken by the Green Party, which said it would now support the bill after the Government agreed to make changes.
Those include greater scrutiny by a court of any of the alleged terrorist's foreign convictions and deportations, and more access to evidence.
"The use of classified information will only occur with the protection of a judge, and the lawyer appointed to assist the accused person will have access to the information, thus ending the use of secret evidence without an advocate," Green Party justice spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman said in a statement.
"Because of the change inserted by the Green Party, this bill will never allow for secret evidence to be used in a case without the accused having a form of representation, as happened in the [Ahmed] Zaoui case."
Bridges, who described the bill as playing Russian roulette with New Zealanders' safety, said that Little had let his "ego" get in the way.
He told the Herald that National would oppose the bill at the first reading, and continue to attempt to strengthen the bill.
The bill – which aims to give police more power to deal with those who have engaged in terrorism-related activities overseas if they return to New Zealand – would apply to the likes of the so-called Kiwi jihadi Mark Taylor, who is believed to be in Syria.
Under a control order, police would be able to electronically monitor a returnee's movements, restrict a returnee's access to the internet, or forbid the returnee from associating with specified people.
National had wanted the bill to apply to people aged as young as 14, and for the time limit on control orders to be extended.
Ghahraman said the Greens would now support the bill at first reading, which will take place today, but would continue to push for changes to the bill.
"We're also pleased to say that the National Party have been prevented from blackmailing the Government into draconian law changes that go far beyond what is necessary just so they can appear to be tough on law and order."
Little welcomed the Greens' support and said that national security was the responsibility of "all parties".
Earlier this week Little said he had been "dicked around" by Bridges, who returned fire by calling Little's negotiating style "belligerent".
Bridges said the bill had to be strengthened before National would back it, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that National had written to the Government pledging to support the bill's first reading.
"They did give the minister written confirmation that they would support the returning foreign fighters' legislation. They have then reneged on their word," Ardern said on Tuesday.
Little released an email – sent on Tuesday last week – from National which confirmed that it would be supporting the bill in its first reading.
The email did not mention anything about any changes National would like to see to the legislation.
But National's justice spokesman Mark Mitchell said that National's conditional support had been "very clear from day one".
Bridges and Little met on Monday night but by Tuesday morning were trading verbal blows, stalling the bill's planned first reading.
The bill is now set down for its first reading this afternoon.