by Matt King MP (National, Northland)

PM Ardern announced to New Zealanders that the Crown and the Police did everything they could to lock the New Lynn Countdown Isis terrorist up, but the law prevented this.  

She then went on to say that the High Court refused to convict and imprison him on planning a terrorist attack. What she didn’t say, however, was that the High Court Judge who made that decision was so concerned that the law was inadequate (because planning a terrorist attack was not an offence in New Zealand and wouldn’t allow him to imprison this man) that in a rare move he requested High Court staff to send his judgment to the Attorney General, the Solicitor General and the Law Commission with this advice.   

That was in July 2020.  

The Judge went so far as to specifically warn government that the lack of adequate legislation meant that there was a serious threat to public safety from “lone wolf” attacks particularly since the Christchurch terror attack. He said parliament needed to create the offence as the courts did not have the power to do this. And what is so sadly ironic is that his specific warning to government which related to a specific defendant before him was exactly what this same man did.  

The warning was given to government over 13 months ago and yet as we are now getting so used to, this Ardern-led government is just too slow at doing anything unless it suits their specific political agenda. 

Yes they will make excuse after excuse about how long it takes to get legislation drafted and into law but in this case those excuses are total rubbish. This is a simple addition to current law that could have been made in a month and moved into law under urgency. Proof of this is the fact it took them less than a month to change the Firearms laws after the Christchurch terror attack. Australia and the UK already have this “planning a terrorist act” legislation and New Zealand could simply have adopted their wording.  

Labour had the numbers to do it alone even though there would be no objection from National and Act for tougher terrorist laws. Further Ardern’s latest excuse that this legislation could not be exercised retrospectively is also irrelevant as the Police and SIS’s belief that this man was planning a terrorist action had not gone away and they would have been perfectly able to lay new charges if the law was in place. Instead, because the government was so slow at getting the law changed, Police had some 30 officers involved in surveillance on him. This is absolutely absurd they had to do this because the required law change had not been made. Having 30 Police involved in watching this man 24/7 meant they totally believed he was planning a terrorist act.  

Make your own judgment. It is very clear to me.