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Extra Funding For Counter Terrorism Efforts

The government has decided to increase funding for counter terrorism activities, Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced today.

Eight government agencies and departments will share the extra funding. It totals $26.916 million in operating expenditure and $2.894 million in capital expenditure running from now until 2003/4. The new operating funding will continue to run at just under $14 million per annum from 2003/4.

Helen Clark said the 11 September attacks had heightened the security risk internationally and caused the government to take a closer look at security issues.

“While New Zealand is geographically remote and an unlikely target, the possibility of terrorist attack can never be ruled out. In addition New Zealand needs to be alert to any possible connections between terrorist networks, their activities, and people living in New Zealand.

“New Zealand has international obligations to assist in efforts to combat terrorism. UN Security Council resolutions in the wake of 11 September require UN member countries to introduce stronger measures to combat international terrorism.

“Since the attacks on the United States, the government has devoted considerable efforts to counter terrorism measures. To date this work has been done by a redirection of resources within departments. That approach cannot be maintained in the longer term.

“The government has decided, therefore, to direct $26.916 million of new operating funding over this financial year and the next two to a number of agencies involved in counter terrorism and border protection. In subsequent years funding is set to continue to run at the 2003/4 level.

The Immigration Service will receive an extra $4.124 million, Customs an extra $6.020 million, Police an extra $3.555 million and the Defence Force an extra $370,000. Parliamentary Services will receive an extra $1.124 million. Three other agencies, the SIS, the GCSB and the External Assessments Bureau, will together receive an extra $11.723 million over the three financial years.

$2.894 million of capital funding will be shared between intelligence agencies, Civil Defence and the Defence Force.

Helen Clark said the new funding will strengthen New Zealand’s protective security measures.

“This includes enhanced border control, aviation security, and protective security measures at high profile or significant facilities.

“The funding will also improve our intelligence agencies’ ability to collect and evaluate foreign and domestic intelligence. A particular focus of their efforts will be to prevent New Zealand from being used as a safe haven to plan and facilitate terrorist attacks elsewhere.

“The new funding will also allow us to improve New Zealand’s capacity to respond to specific security incidents such as terrorist emergencies, including those of a chemical or biological nature, and coping with the aftermath of incidents.

“The increased funding is a measured response to the international security environment which we now face, and demonstrates again New Zealand’s commitment to international efforts to combat terrorism,” Helen Clark said.

Ends

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