The New Zealand government introduced the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill on Tuesday, designed to boost the country’s ability to respond to a wider range of extremist activities.

The bill strengthens New Zealand’s counter-terrorism legislation and ensures that the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm, said a government statement.

“This is the government’s first step to implementing recommendation 18 of the Royal Commission into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch mosque attack on March 15, 2019, which called for a review of all legislation related to New Zealand’s counter-terrorism effort to ensure it is fit-for-purpose and enables Public sector agencies to operate effectively,” Xinhua news agency quoted Justice Minister Kris Faafoi as saying.

“The crimes perpetrated against members of our Muslim community on March 15 two years ago brought terrorism to this country in a way we had never seen before,” Faafoi said.

The bill amends the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 and Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Act 2019.

The proposed changes include: making amendments to clarify the definition of a “terrorist act”; create new offences to criminalise planning or preparation for a terrorist act, more clearly criminalise terrorist weapons and combat training, and a new offence for international travel to carry out terrorist activities, among others.

Once the bill has its first reading, the next step is for the Justice Select Committee to call for public submissions, Faafoi said.

–IANS

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