Monday, September 27, 2021

Counter-terrorism Bill passes first reading

The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has passed its first reading and will now be considered by Parliament’s Justice select committee.

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

“The Bill responds to the changing nature of terrorism internationally and domestically. Our laws need to recognise and provide a framework to allow early intervention, including against those who operate outside organised terrorist groups.

“It is important that our laws remain up to date and provide us with the ability to better protect those who call New Zealand home.”

The Bill is the Government’s first step to implementing recommendation 18 of the Royal Commission into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019.

The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill amends the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 and Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Act 2019 to:

  • clarify the definition of a “terrorist act”;
  • create a new offence to criminalise planning or preparation for a terrorist act;
  • create a new offence to specifically criminalise terrorist weapons and combat training for terrorist purposes;
  • create a new offence for international travel to carry out terrorist activities;
  • expand the criminal offence of financing terrorism to include broader forms of material support; and
  • extend the eligibility for a control orders to include individuals who have completed a prison sentence for a terrorism-related offence if they continue to present a real risk of engaging in terrorism-related activities.

“This is an important milestone in our wider work on improving our counter-terrorism settings and responding to the recommendations of the Royal Commission,” Mr Faafoi said.

The Justice Select Committee will soon call for public submissions on the Bill.

“The Select Committee process is an important part of developing legislation; providing the opportunity for communities to provide their thoughts on the Bill. I encourage everyone to get involved in that process,” the Minister said.

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