New Zealand’s new counter-terror law passed its third reading at the parliament Thursday, giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect the country from terrorist activities.
It is expected that the bill, following royal assent, will come into effect from October 4.
The bill amends the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, and the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 to criminalize planning or preparation for a terrorist act and apply warrantless powers of entry, search, and surveillance to that offence.
The new law extends the terrorism finance offences to also criminalize providing wider forms of support to terrorist individuals or groups, such as goods and services.
Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi welcomed the bill, saying “the bill strengthens our laws to fight the ever evolving nature of terrorism and closes longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation to better protect New Zealanders.”
“The new counter terrorism law’s major change is to add the criminal offence of planning or preparation for a terrorist act. “The Justice Select Committee also fully endorsed a recommended change to the definition of a terrorist act to include the intention to intimidate, rather than to induce terror, as is defined in the current law.
“These changes bring our definition of a terrorist act into line with counter terrorism laws in other countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, and mean we have the tools we need so we can act early to prevent, respond to, and disrupt terrorist activity.
“The nature of terrorism has changed. Across the world there are more lone actors, rather than larger organized groups; as we saw with the March 15 attack on mosques in Christchurch two years ago, and the attack on shoppers in a West Auckland supermarket earlier this month,” Faafoi said.
The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill was introduced in April this year and received its first reading and referral to the Justice Committee on May 5.