Thursday May 06, 2021

NZ revises counter terrorism laws

Published : 13 Apr 2021, 11:02

  DF News Desk

The main entrance of New Zealand Parliament at Beehive, Wellington, New Zealand. File Photo: Xinhua.

The New Zealand government introduced the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill on Tuesday, designed to boost New Zealand's ability to respond to a wider range of terrorist activities, reported Xinhua.

The bill strengthens New Zealand's counter-terrorism legislation and ensures that the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm, said a government statement.

"This is the government's first step to implementing recommendation 18 of the Royal Commission into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch mosque attack on 15 March 2019, which called for a review of all legislation related to New Zealand's counter-terrorism effort to ensure it is fit-for-purpose and enables Public sector agencies to operate effectively," Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said in a statement.

"The crimes perpetrated against members of our Muslim community on March 15 two years ago brought terrorism to this country in a way we had never seen before," Faafoi said.

The attack also mirrored how the nature of terrorism has been changing internationally, involving lone actors rather than organized terrorist groups. The laws should be changed to respond to it, Faafoi said.

The bill amends the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 and Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Act 2019. The proposed changes include: making amendments to clarify the definition of a "terrorist act"; create new offences to criminalize planning or preparation for a terrorist act, more clearly criminalize terrorist weapons and combat training, and a new offence for international travel to carry out terrorist activities, among others.

Once the bill has its first reading, the next step is for the Justice Select Committee to call for public submissions on the bill, Faafoi said.