Oh, New Zealand!

NO, I'm not about to talk of rugby but of this: "New Zealand police hold 17 in terror raids".

Read the article further and you'll realise the operation was "reportedly targeting Maori sovereignty and environmental activists - not foreign groups".


"The North Island raids were the first use of the country's Terrorism Suppression Act"

The reason why I find this interesting?* Well, take a look at what I've put up--this is the first time the Anti-terror law has been used and its been used against citizens rather than foreigners.

Keep in mind that New Zealand has, traditionally, been represented as a small power state in the international system which cares more for socioeconomic development and environmental concerns, provides foreign aid to regional countries (including Nepal) rather than for its military activities. In fact, most military activities rely upon joint alliances with Australia and the United States. Its Prime Minister is a former anti-war campaigner (during the Vietnam war) and fought against establishing foreign military bases in New Zealand.

New Zealand was seen to be in the forefront of economic growth, strong relations with Asia-Pacific, forward-looking immigration policies and, compared to other Western countries, fairly good relations with its indigenous community.

Now, this. I'm not saying these people weren't planning whatever it is they were supposed to be planning when practising during their "military-style training exercise". Merely that the use of Anti-terror laws and the identification of local people as terrorists is likely to lead to a dangerous area where the state can label any group they do not like as "terrorists". I guess my concern is this usage of "terrorism"--why weren't they arrested for "setting up military-style camps" (if that is illegal in New Zealand) or for "acquiring firearms"? Why weren't they (merely) criminalised instead of being called terrorist? Aren't we expanding the definition of terrorism to incorporate any and all types of illegal activities by doing this?

And, yes, getting back to the personal--it's New Zealand. A country of sheep and friendly people and a love of sports. Not terrorists. But, then, I thought the same thing about Nepal (well, apart from the sheep bit--we have mountain goats and yaks).

* apart from the purely personal reason of LilSis1 living in the country--in one of the cities where they carried out the raids.

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