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New Zealand's terrorism threat level moves down to medium in wake of Christchurch attack

New Zealand’s national terrorism threat level has moved from high to medium Jacinda Ardern announced today.

The threat level had been raised to high because of the March 15 terrorist attack in Christchurch in which 50 people were killed in shootings at two mosques.

Medium is defined as "a terrorist attack is assessed as feasible and could well occur".

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 15: Police officers cordon off the area after gunmen attacked the two mosques and fired multiple times during Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, 2019. At least nine people were reportedly killed in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, local media reported Friday.

 (Photo by Diederik van Heyningen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Police officers cordon off the area after gunmen attacked the two mosques in Christchurch. Source: Getty

The new level is still higher than it was before the terrorist attack on March 15 when the threat level was low.

"New Zealanders safety is the highest priority for the Government. Following review and peer review of the current threat environment CTAG (Combined Threat Assessment Group ) have concluded this change accurately reflects our current status," the Prime Minister said in a statement.

"While the threat level has been revised to medium, and there is no current specific threat agencies are responding to, people will continue to notice a clear police presence at public events, including on ANZAC Day," Ms Ardern said.

Ms Ardern said New Zealanders should go about their daily lives as normal, but still remain vigilant.

"If you see something suspicious or behaviour that concerns you, then speak up and call police."

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said in a statement that "police would reassess its current position regarding the arming of frontline staff based on our risk assessment, with the threat level being one of the factors in our assessment."

Mr Bush said now police are transitioning from the protective security measures implemented after the Christchurch terrorist attacks.

"Generally this means frontline staff will transition back to our normal approach regarding carriage and access to firearms. You may still see some frontline staff continue to carry firearms on a case by case basis if particular circumstances necessitate this approach," he said.

He said the public can now expect to see fewer police officers carrying firearms.

"I stress that if you do see a police officer carrying a firearm it does not mean there is a specific threat to the public," Mr Bush said.

Mr Bush says even though the threat level has been lowered police are still consulting with mosques and Islamic centres about ongoing security.

The PM says the vote is a “deeply personal” one and she doesn’t know which way the final decision will go.