Ongoing upheaval in the Middle East and the rapid rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh) have changed the international security landscape, where terrorism is now a significant threat. The terrorism threat level for New Zealand is assessed as LOW; a terrorist attack is a realistic possibility. We need to be vigilant, and play a part in countering terrorism abroad.
We build networks with other countries and international organisations so we can keep informed of terrorist threats, share information, and improve our capacity to respond. MFAT represents New Zealand at international forums that deal with terrorism.
We promote New Zealand’s security interests and support a stable, rules-based approach to international security.
New Zealand's approach
The causes of terrorism are complex and multi-dimensional, and countering terrorism requires a range of approaches. We have a coordinated, whole of government response both globally and regionally.
What we're doing globally
New Zealand works with several international partners to improve global counter-terrorism capability. We do this through policy, legislation and practical initiatives that help prevent terrorist financing, violent extremism, radicalisation and recruitment.
We support the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy(external link). We’ve co-sponsored a number of terrorist designations and follow a national process to make sure New Zealand complies with the UN Security Council’s terrorist sanctions against these entities.
Groups and initiatives New Zealand works with include:
- UN al Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committees – UN committees that impose measures to limit the capabilities of these specific terrorist groups. This committee also deals with ISIL and its affiliates.
- International Coalition to Counter ISIL - New Zealand has deployed a military training mission to Iraq as part of our overall contribution to the international coalition against ISIL. This is a non-combat mission, aimed at building the capability and capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces to counter ISIL and promote peace and security.
- UN Alliance of Civilisations - works to address the root causes of extremism through improving cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among countries, peoples and communities.
- Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) – a group of around 30 countries that work together to find ways to prevent, combat and prosecute terrorist acts, and to promote the UN’s Counter Terrorism Strategy.
- Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) – an initiative of the GCTF that supports local efforts to prevent violent extremism.
- Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - helps countries put in place laws and regulations that prevent the financing of terrorist organisations.
What we're doing regionally
Countering terrorism in the Asia Pacific region is very important to New Zealand's national security. We support other countries in their efforts to work against violent extremism and radicalisation, and prevent recruitment to terror groups.
Our work in counter-terrorism capacity building is largely focused on South-East Asia. Our partners include governments, NGOs, and training centres for counter terrorism such as the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation and the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism in Malaysia.
In the wider region we work to find practical counter terrorism solutions through several forums:
- Pacific Working Group on Counter Terrorism and Transnational Organised Crime – we've convened this group in collaboration with the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat since 2005.
- Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering – works to prevent the financing of terrorist activities in the region.
- UN Office on Drugs and Crime – we work with the office to build capacity in the Asia Pacific region, particularly by providing legislative assistance.
- ASEAN Regional Forum - provides a forum to discuss shared terrorism challenges, and to identify opportunities for cooperation.