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Key firm on jihadi bride stance

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/04/2016
Prime Minister John Key © Getty Images Prime Minister John Key

Prime Minister John Key has rejected a renewed attack on him by the Greens over jihadi brides, saying the danger is in their returning to New Zealand.

Mr Key has been under fire since it was revealed last month he hadn't explained the full picture of New Zealand women travelling to the Middle East when he raised the issue at a select committee in November last year.

The Greens over the weekend said they had discovered Mr Key had known for six months that no women had left from New Zealand. Just one had gone from Australia but it was not known why she went.

"He made it seem to the whole country that there were New Zealand women leaving New Zealand radicalised to become the wives of Islamic fighters. It was completely untrue," co-leader Metiria Turei said.

Mr Key had deliberately kept information "in order to drive up fear and suspicion amongst us, amongst our own communities about each other".

However, Mr Key on Monday repeated the government's argument that the point of origin was unimportant.

"Ultimately the issue is whether they are carrying a New Zealand passport," he told Radio NZ.

"If they go to Iraq or Syria, ultimately marry someone who undertakes a terrorist act they can return to New Zealand and potentially that is the risk."

Despite being briefed on the situation in May, Mr Key said he didn't know how long the women had been in Australia or where they had been radicalised. He also wouldn't say how many had gone or returned.

Mr Key said the public would never get the full picture because a lot of the information could not be revealed.

"We've always said New Zealand is not immune, we've said that there are people in a variety of different categories from funding foreign fighters to being foreign fighters to being jihadi brides."

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