New Zealand parliament debates anti-terror laws

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The Independent Online

New Zealand's parliament began debating tough new anti–terrorism laws including the creation of new crimes of terrorist bombing and financing of terrorism.

New Zealand's parliament began debating tough new anti–terrorism laws today including the creation of new crimes of terrorist bombing and financing of terrorism.

Part of New Zealand's obligations under international treaties, the measures will "strengthen New Zealand's ability to deter and react decisively to international terrorist acts," Foreign Minister Phil Goff said.

Terrorist bombing would be punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment and financing terrorism by up to 14 years.

The only recent major bombing in New Zealand was a 1985 attack on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour by French secret agents, an act acknowledged by the French government of the day.

One man died in the bombing, which sank the high–profile protest ship. Two French secret agents were found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for their parts in the attack.

Goff said under the treaties, New Zealand will cooperate to ensure offenses are investigated and suspects prosecuted or extradited.

"New Zealand condemns terrorism in all its forms and we will play in full our part in the fight against it," he said.

"There must be no impunity for terrorists. This bill ... prevents any terrorist from being able to use this country as a safe haven."

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