Last updated 09:34, December 16 2014
Prime Minister John Key says it would be naive to think an attack similar to the Sydney siege couldn’t happen in New Zealand.
Three people, including the gunman, are dead after the Martin Pl siege ended in a volley of gunfire shortly after 2am local time today (4am NZT).
“I think you have to say yes,” Key said.
“There is always that risk, there’s that risk everywhere in the world. There’s the risk that there’s a person who is somehow attracted to the teachings and kinds of messages and propaganda that these people are peddling.”
In a landmark security speech last month, Key revealed government agencies were monitoring up to 40 possible foreign fighters within New Zealand because of their engagement in “extremist” behaviour.
“We know that as part of those 30-40 people we identified on the first list, that there are people who spend a lot of time on the internet, basically delving very deep into the messages and the propaganda that is coming out of ISIS [Islamic State],” he said.
Last week the “foreign fighters” bill passed into law, 94 votes to 27. It followed a similar tightening of security laws in other countries including Australia and Britain.
The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill aims to tackle home-grown terrorism, with the Government arguing the rise of the Islamic State (IS) terror group in the Middle East increased the risk of an attack here.
The new law allows warrantless surveillance for 24 hours, and includes powers to cancel passports for up to three years, when authorities suspect terrorist activities.
Key said the events in Sydney only showed how dangerous IS was, even if it wasn’t directly involved.
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