New Zealand tightens terrorism prevention law following August supermarket stabbing attack

The law, an amendment to the 2002 Terrorism Suppression Act, was quickly shuttled through parliament following a terror attack in Auckland last month

Updated: September 30, 2021 - 10:15am

New Zealand has voted to tighten its counter-terrorism laws following and ISIS-inspired knife attack injured seven people at a mall in Auckland last month. 

On Thursday, the country's parliament passed the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, which had the support of the Labour and National parties. It was opposed by thee Green Party and the Māori Party.

The bill, which acts as an amendment to the 2002 Terrorism Suppression Act, gives New Zealand's intelligence and law enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. It will give some agencies the ability to – without a warrant – search, surveil, and enter a suspect's home.

The law also criminalizes planning a terrorist attack, as well as using weapons or combat training for terrorist purposes.

The new law has been in development for months, but its passage was expedited following the August attack carried out by 32-year-old Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen. The attacker was an ethnic Tamil Muslim from Sri Lanka who had arrived in New Zealand a decade ago on a student visa seeking refugee status, which was "fraudulently obtained," according to law enforcement, in 2013.