Audrey Young writes:
It is not often that Australian laws on deportation look attractive to New Zealanders.
But comparing Australia’s hardline law with the legal obstacle course in New Zealand that kept the LynnMall terrorist from being deported back to Sri Lanka, it is time to take a hard look at whether New Zealand has gone too soft.
A review needs to take place which should test the assurance by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that absolutely every that could have been done was done before Aathil Samsudeen stabbed five shoppers on Friday, inspired by IS.
I agree we should be looking at law changes that make it quicker and easier to deport migrants who not only break our laws, but especially those who pose a risk to people’s lives. We have so many levels of review and appeal that nothing ever occurs in months, but in years. Look at the Kim Dotcom case which is soon to reach its second decade! Not that the Dotcom case is about our laws, but it is still an example of how unresponsive the system can be.
For example, according to the Prime Minister’s timeline, Immigration chose not to put Samsudeen in custody pending appeal of his deportation because Crown Law thought he would eventually be declared a protected person and be allowed to stay.
That sounds like failing to act because someone had second-guessed what a legal outcome would be.
There are other questions to be answered such as whether the original granting of refugee status was robust enough given parts of it were later found to be fraudulent, whether more could have been done for the offender’s psychiatric problems, why he was given supervision instead of intense supervision by the court in July, what law changes could have been made earlier.
These are all valid questions to be asked and answered. I would expect the Government to soon announce a Commission of Inquiry to look into whether this attack could have been prevented, and recommend potential law changes in future. Just because he didn’t manage (so far) to kill anyone doesn’t mean this was not extremely serious. If the Police had not assigned 30 or so officers to trail him 24/7 then there could have been a huge death toll.
Bipartisanship on the review is crucial. Lack of it prevented earlier attention to elements of the existing law, the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.
Judith Collins was Justice Minister when it was taken off the Law Commission’s review.
That was because it would have faced a backlash from Labour which was already fomenting opposition to much-needed remediation of the GCSB legislation.
Maybe Andrew Little should now apologise to John Key. In 2015 Newshub reports:
The Prime Minister has revealed the Government is undertaking 24-hour surveillance; monitoring people it believes pose a risk of committing a terror attack in New Zealand.
And John Key says there are a number of Kiwis linked to Islamic State (IS), even trying to raise money for them, and is scared there might be more hiding under the radar.
“Their actions are significant enough to [pose a] potential threat – exactly what [I] can’t go in to,” says Mr Key.
But one man known to support IS posted on social media that he thinks the Prime Minister is lying, saying “no way do we want to commit terrorist attacks in our own country”.
There are 40 New Zealanders on a Government watch list, and Mr Key says one or two are being monitored around the clock.
So Key warned in 2015 that there were one or two people being monitored 24/7 and what was the response:
But Labour leader Andrew Little says the Prime Minister is scaremongering.
“[It’s a] desperate attempt to look tough,” he says.