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Government continues fight against terrorism

Government continues fight against terrorism

The Government introduced legislation today which will create new terrorism offences and penalties and sees New Zealand further implement United Nations Conventions on terrorism, said Justice Minister Phil Goff.

The Counter-Terrorism Bill follows on from the Terrorism Suppression Act passed in October and will be the final step in adopting the last of twelve UN Conventions aimed at fighting global terrorism.

“This legislation is the latest in a series of measures implemented in the past twelve months by the Government in countering terrorism. These have included a $30 million boost in funding in counter-terrorism measures covering intelligence agencies, police, immigration and defence.

“Terrorism does not always come in the form of a bomb or a gun. The deliberate introduction of foot and mouth would be catastrophic for the New Zealand economy. Poisoning a town’s water supply or instilling widespread fear in a community are forms of terrorism as well.

“Terrorism is a threat to New Zealanders well-being and enforcement agencies need to have the powers and ability to deal with it. However proper safeguards are in place to ensure that civil liberties are not unduly impinged upon.

“Among the new terrorist offences and penalties will be

Infecting animals with disease (ten years imprisonment). Contamination of food, crops, water or other products intended for human consumption (ten years imprisonment). Threatening or communicating information about harm to persons or property, including hoax calls (seven years imprisonment). Harbouring or concealing terrorists (seven years imprisonment). Terrorism will be an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes under the Sentencing Act 2002.

“As terrorists become more sophisticated in their operations, the investigative agencies which counter them must be given the ability to do their job properly.

“This is reflected in new powers being given enforcement agencies such as the Police for the interception of terrorist activity. This includes the use of electronic tracking devices and computer assistance orders.

“A District or High Court Judge will be able to issue a warrant to authorise the use of a tracking device if satisfied that it is required to obtain evidence of the commission of a terrorist offence.

“The Bill also allows New Zealand to implement two further UN Conventions. These relate to the possessing, using or manufacture of plastic explosives and to the transporting, improperly obtaining, or threatening to use nuclear material.

“New penalties of a 10-year jail sentence or $500,000 fine relating to these areas will be created under the legislation.

“The Government takes terrorism seriously and is acting on it. As long as the reality of terrorist activity exists, that threat has to be addressed,” Mr Goff said.

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