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Govt introduces counter-terrorism bill after recommendations from Christchurch attack inquiry

The Government today is introducing the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, which it says will boost New Zealand’s “ability to respond to a wider range of terrorist activities”. 

Kris Faafoi. Source: 1 NEWS

The proposed changes include clarifying what a “terrorist act” is and new offences for people who plan or prepare for a terrorist act.

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Proposed changes include creating a new offence for anyone planning or preparing a terrorist act. Source: 1 NEWS

“The bill strengthens New Zealand’s counter-terrorism legislation and ensures that the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm,” Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said. 

He said the bill was in response to recommendation 18 of the Royal Inquiry into the Christchurch terrorist attack. The recommendation said the Government should review counter-terrorism legislation to make sure it is current and would allow Government agencies to operate effectively.

Flowers were laid outside the Al Noor mosque as the sentencing of the mass murderer takes place. Source: Getty

“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 organised terrorist groups. We need to ensure our laws can respond to that.”

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The bill would amend the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 and Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Act 2019

Among the proposed changes include:

  • Clarifying the definition of a “terrorist act”
  • Creating a new criminal offence for people who plan or prepare for a terrorist act or plan to travel internationally to carry out terrorist activities 
  • Creating a new offence that would more clearly criminalise terrorist weapons and combat training
  • Expanding the definition of offending when it comes to financing terrorism. The bill would include “broader forms of material support”
  • Extending the eligibility for a control order to include people who have completed a prison sentence for a terrorism-related offence if they continued to pose a risk for further terrorism-related activities