Counter terrorism laws to be strengthened

The Government will strengthen New Zealand’s counter-terrorism legislation and ensure the right legislative tools are available to intervene early to prevent harm, as recommended by the Royal Commission into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch masjidain.

The proposals include:

  • making amendments to clarify the definition of a “terrorist act”;
  • creating a new offence to criminalise planning or preparation for a terrorist act (this is similar to the precursor offence discussed in the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s Report);
  • creating a new offence to more clearly criminalise terrorist weapons and combat training;
  • extending the eligibility for a control order to include individuals who have completed a prison sentence for a terrorism-related offence if they continue to present a real risk of engaging in terrorism-related activities.

“I acknowledge the deep hurt and pain for those whose loved ones lost their lives on March 15 2019, for those injured, and for their families and communities,” Minister Kris Faafoi said.

“The Government asked for work relating to counter-terrorism to be fast-tracked following the tragic events in Christchurch. These proposals will move our legislation to respond to a wider range of terrorist activities and potential terrorist threats.

“We also need to keep asking ourselves what else needs to be done.

“We will all benefit from the extensive work and research of the Royal Commission into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mosques. It is a high priority for us to consider the Royal Commission’s recommendations in full and look at other changes we can introduce to make Aotearoa New Zealand safe for everyone.

“I am extremely mindful of the public interest in this work and I intend to ask the select committee considering the law changes to undertake expanded consultation after the proposed legislative changes are introduced,” Kris Faafoi said.

The proposed reforms would be through amendments to the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 and Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Act 2019.

Last year Cabinet also agreed to two other proposals which will be included in the amendment bill:

  • creating a new offence for international travel to carry out terrorist activities; and
  • expanding the criminal offence of financing terrorism to include broader forms of material support.

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