'Self-radicalised' Kiwi most likely cause for NZ terror threat alert, intelligence expert says

The Prime Minister's office has not commented on the nature of the threat.
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

The Prime Minister's office has not commented on the nature of the threat.

The threat to carry out a terrorist attack in New Zealand which led to the country's security systems being triggered was likely due to a "self-radicalised" Kiwi, an intelligence analyst says.

The Government and spy agencies have refused to give further information about the threat of a domestic terrorist incident, but a government minister says more details may yet come to light.

The threat to New Zealand is outlined in the National Security System Handbook, released by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Intelligence analyst Paul Buchanan said "self-radicalised computer jockeys" were the greatest threat to New Zealand.
SUPPLIED

Intelligence analyst Paul Buchanan said "self-radicalised computer jockeys" were the greatest threat to New Zealand.

The handbook lists incidents which have triggered the national security system, a set of procedures involving the Government, chief executives of government ministries and other senior officials.

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The system was once activated after an unspecified "threat of a domestic terrorist incident", according to the document.

Security and Intelligence Minister Chris Finlayson said more details about the terror threat could come to light in future.
FAIRFAX NZ

Security and Intelligence Minister Chris Finlayson said more details about the terror threat could come to light in future.

Other occasions where the system have been activated included the threat that infant formula was contaminated with 1080, and the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

In 2015, police took "further security measures" after a Kiwi jihadist urged Islamic State followers in New Zealand to launch attacks on Anzac Day.

In a YouTube video obtained by 3News before it was taken down, Mark Taylor is heard telling IS sympathisers: "Now is the time to commence your operations, even if it means you have to stab a few police officers, soldiers on Anzac Day and so be it."

It is unclear whether Taylor is linked to the threat in the handbook.

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GOVT PROTECTING SOURCES, METHODS - EXPERT

Former US intelligence adviser and security expert Paul Buchanan said the Government "would have been wiser" to give some details about the terror threat to support their expansion of the intelligence and security agencies' powers.

Their reluctance to comment suggested they didn't want to compromise the sources and methods that led them to thwart the attack, Buchanan said.

"Maybe they have an informant, maybe they received information from one of their Five Eyes partners."

While many people would assume the threat related to "some sort of jihadi", that was not the only possibility, he said.

'DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS'

"There are other people here - white supremacists, Maori sovereignty types, even animal rights activists - who conceivably could engage in acts of terrorism, so I wouldn't jump to conclusions."

However, Buchanan said most common "terrorist wannabe" in New Zealand was the "self-radicalised computer jockey" planning lone-wolf attacks through the Internet with information from Islamic State (Isis).

While New Zealand was far less at risk of major terrorist attacks such as those in Europe, the United States and Australia, our involvement on the war against Isis put us at risk, he said.

"We're on their radar scope, and because we're on their radar scope we have to plan for the possibility that they will try to conduct or at least inspire an act of domestic terrorism - distance is no longer an impediment to conducting terrorist attacks."

NO COMMENT ON THREAT

Prime Minister John Key's office, the NZ Security Intelligence Service, and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet all declined to comment on the nature of the threat, NZME reported.

Security and Intelligence Minister Chris Finlayson also would not comment on any details of the reported threat but said, "These matters do occur and they are a cause of concern."

"I'm not being flippant, but these are very sensitive matters - in due course further information may come to light, but not yet," Finlayson said.

A spokesman for Key said: "As the Prime Minister has said, New Zealand is not immune from the threat of terrorism, although the threat to New Zealand remains low.

"Our intelligence agencies play an important role in identifying, monitoring and reacting to any domestic threats in order to keep New Zealanders safe, both at home and abroad.

"The Government has increased their resources to allow them to better carry out their duties as well as increased the level of transparency and oversight to ensure they are doing so appropriately."

 - Stuff

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