On Friday 3 September, a terrorist attack took place at a LynMall supermarket in New Lynn, Auckland. The attacker stabbed six people and injured one before being shot and killed by Police. It was quickly revealed that the person was a known supporter of the Islamic State and was under long-term Police surveillance. Following the event, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she wants the Government's Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, which was brought in following the 2019 Christchurch terror attacks, to be passed no later than by the end of the month.
As part of an ongoing investigation into New Zealand’s counter-terrorism strategy, News and Editorial Director Jemima Huston wanted to look into some of the issues that have been raised about the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill. She spoke to Professor Richard Jackson, Director of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, about some of the problems he says the Bill has. Professor Jackson, along with other experts on terrorism, are concerned that the Bill is being passed too quickly and that more research and time is needed to properly address terrorism in New Zealand's legislation.
Jemima and Professor Jackson touch on the restrictions terrorism legislation places on human rights, the difficulty to determine a person's intention, protecting minority groups against the deep racial biases that exist in New Zealand society, and whether it is possible to appropriately define terrorism.
Ultimately, Professor Jackson is concerned that the Bill is being rushed through the legislation process. He says that in times of public distress, the Government moves quickly to make laws as a way to show that the state cares about its people and has done something to address the issue at hand. However, Professor Jackson warns that rushed legislation doesn't consider all the evidence and runs the risk of negatively impacting certain minority communities and increasing grievance amongst those most likley to turn to extremism.