Terrorist Threat Increases Alarmingly!
The terrorism threat is mounting in New Zealand, the Prime Minister claims there are up to 40 people here who are capable of repeating the sort of action tragically experienced in Sydney. New Zealand's terrorist threat has has been upgraded from very low to low. Legislation has been passed under urgency to provide greater powers to the SIS to allow surveillance without a warrant for 24 hours. The threat of the Islamic State is seen to be greater than any terror organisation existing in the Middle East prior to this. The Government has put all its energies into protecting us from the danger of IS related activities and the increased surveillance capacity will hopefully protect us in our new low risk environment.
There have been 3 deaths in New Zealand over the past 60 years because of terrorist acts and they all occurred over 30 years ago. Two perpetrators were New Zealanders and the other was a friendly state. In 1982 a local "Punk Rock" anarchist blew himself up when trying to destroy the police computer in Wanganui; in 1984 Ernie Abbot, the caretaker of the Wellington Trades Hall, was killed by a bomb placed by a yet to be identified terrorist; and Fernando Pereira was killed when the Rainbow Warrior was bombed by the French Foreign Intelligence Service in 1985. There have been no deaths from terrorism since, despite ongoing conflict in the Middle East and our own military involvement.
The SIS hasn't had a great record in identifying terrorists in the past. Green MP Keith Locke was spied on from the age of 11 years because it was felt he was a threat to the state, Ahmed Zaoui was also thought to be a terrorist and an actual terrorist act on the Rainbow Warrior was missed completely by the SIS and was cleaned up by the police. The Urewera terror raids in 2007 on Maori activists and Save Happy Valley protestors ended up with a few minor firearms charges and all involved are back with their families.
The threat of terrorism has been communicated with a high level of concern from our Prime Minister, but perhaps there are much greater threats to ordinary New Zealanders. According to the Women's Refuge 14 women, 6 men and 10 children are killed by a family member each year (on average). 5,000 people die every year because of tobacco use and second hand smoke and in 2012 93 people died because of drivers influenced by alcohol.
In 2011 the Government cut funding to the Women's Refuge by $800,000. This organisation provides the most support for those suffering from domestic violence across the county. The Government has put a hold on plain packaging for cigarettes and we now have two Government MPs who were once employed by tobacco company Philip Morris. The New Zealand Law Commission provided the Government with recommendations on how to reduce the harm from alcohol consumption and only a few were implemented.
Despite the Government's reluctance to deal effectively with the 5,123 people who die each year because of family violence, alcohol and tobacco, at least terrorism is regarded a lot more seriously. We can sleep safely in the knowledge that IS related madmen won't attack us in our homes and John Key and his team of merry spies are watching over us.