Labour-National stoush delays anti-terror law

A stoush between Labour and National has delayed a new law targeting Kiwis coming home after joining terror groups like Islamic State.

Talks have descended into name-calling and bitterness between Justice Minister Andrew Little and the Opposition leader Simon Bridges. 

The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill would put restrictions on foreign fighters and people with terrorist links like Mark Taylor, the "Kiwi Jihadi" in Syria, who wants to return to New Zealand. 

But the Bill has descended into political farce, with the Justice Minister saying on Tuesday he has felt "a little dicked around" by the National Party. 

National leader Simon Bridges responded, "He's saying we're dicking around - well as I say, we're not going to get into the blame, name game on this."

Last week, National wrote to Little confirming the party will be supporting the Bill through to the select committee stage where changes are usually made. But National then added conditions to toughen it up. 

"We're not going to play Russian Roulette with New Zealanders' safety," Bridges said. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Justice Minister are now suggesting the National Party is untrustworthy. 

"Obviously, you couldn't take them at their word on this," Ardern said on Tuesday, followed by Little who said, "This is not the behaviour of mature leaders, I'm sorry."

But National says it was Little who jeopardised things when he accused Bridges of "dumb politicking" last week. 

Bridges said he would categorise Little's negotiating style as "belligerent". 

National MP Mark Mitchell said Little has a "temper" that can "grab ahold sometimes". 

The Greens could be Labour's lifeline for the Bill, offering support for tweaks to safeguards and how terrorism is defined. 

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said, "Both parties are very open to helping make this piece of the law the kind of law it needs to be."

It's a massive back-down on last week when the Greens called the legislation "dog-whistling" and "potentially racist". 

"We're going to stop this," Ghahraman said last week. 

Traditionally on matters of national security like this, Labour and National back each other no matter who's in power. 

The Bill was supposed to be introduced on Tuesday but has been delayed.