Anti-terrorism and hate speech laws to be ‘stronger’ since Christchurch Terrorist attack – NZ Govt

Anti-terrorism and hate speech laws to be ‘stronger’ since Christchurch Terrorist attack – NZ Govt

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The New Zealand Government has agreed to implement all 44 recommendations contained in response to the Royal Commission’s Inquiry into the March 15 Christchurch terror attacks.

The Royal Commission was set up to investigate what specific state-agencies knew about the terrorist activities leading up to the attack. It also was set up to look into what agencies should take to prevent any further attacks in the future — learning from mistakes.

“The Royal Commission found no failures within any Government agencies that would have allowed the individual’s planning and preparation to have been detected but did identify many lessons to be learnt and significant areas needing change,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

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For years the Muslim community has raised concerns over issues of intelligence agencies not concentrating on potential risks and national security within the firearms licensing system.

However, the Commission had found no indication that these issues could have stopped an attack.

“These were both failings nonetheless and for that, I apologise. In addition, the report also discusses a permissive firearms regime that persisted for decades for which we must also take responsibility and which we have now changed.”

Ardern says that ‘going forward’ agencies and Government need to have an adequate focus of resources on the range of threats New Zealand can or could face, by enchanting security and intelligence.

Through the report, it also discusses a permissive firearms regime that continued for decade and responsibility must be taken, which has now been changed and is now in effect.

“You, and others, have made New Zealand your home. You, and every New Zealander, deserve a system that does its best to keep you safe.”

“Terrorism aims to shake our beliefs and divide us. Instead, New Zealand responded to the events of March 15 with compassion, empathy and solidarity. I hope we remain united as we start to implement the recommendations of this inquiry to build a safer and more connected country.”

“I thank the Royal Commission for its thorough work. The Government accepts the findings of its report and agrees in principle to the 44 recommendations. Our response to these will help strengthen New Zealand’s Counter-Terrorism system as well as enhance cohesion across our varied communities.”

Andrew Little will be placed in charge of coordinating the Government’s response to the Royal Commission report and will be working on the implementation of recommendations.

A new Ministry for Ethic Communities was created to support and enhance the work programme on social cohesion.

Build Te Raranga (the weave) to drive any further improvements in the frontline of Police activity of practice, and, to identify, manage and record hate crime. There will be a service that is more responsive to victims of hate crime in New Zealand.

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The Safer Communities Fund will also get an extension meaning they will be able to enable communities at risk of hate crime and terrorism to upgrade their security arrangements and perspectives to prevent such an attack.

The Government will also be creating an Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme in the public sector as a service — creating a National Centre of Excellence which brings academia together, with civil society and Government to research radicalisation and violent extremism and social cohesion in New Zealand.

The Terrorism Suppression Act will be strengthened and amended to act with the Counter-Terrorism legislation.

An early intervention programme which is led by New Zealand Police will be developed to give support for individuals who are showing any early indications of radicalisation.

The Government will work on accession to the Budapest Convention on cybercrime, where a multi-agency Response Steering Group will be set up to provide a Response Report to Government in the first quarter of 20201 — it will include an Implementation Roadmap for the report’s recommendations.

Ardern says she and the Government will work with the community including interest groups across the country as the implementation of the Royal Commission progresses. 

“My final words are for the Muslim community. Thank you for the part you have played in ensuring this Royal Commission was comprehensive and contains practical actions that can now be put in place,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring an event like March 15 never happens again.”

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