Asia

New Zealand approves new anti-terror laws

Members of Jihadist group Hamza Abdualmuttalib (in silhouette) train near Aleppo. File photo Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many countries are worried about the effect on domestic security of nationals fighting for Islamist groups

New Zealand's parliament has approved new anti-terrorism laws aimed at countering the domestic threat posed by overseas extremist groups.

The bill passed late on Tuesday by 94 votes to 27.

It permits video surveillance for 24 hours without a warrant and the cancellation of passports for up to three years for those suspected of involvement in terrorism.

Prime Minister John Key said it was a response to an evolving situation.

"The threats faced by New Zealand have grown and it is important that we have the ability to respond to that," Mr Key said in a statement.

In a speech last month, he said there were individuals inspired by militant Islamist groups such as the Islamic State (IS) "who are attracted to carrying out domestic attacks".

"Government agencies have a watch list of between 30 and 40 people of concern in the foreign fighter category," he said on 4 November.

"These are people in or from New Zealand who are in various ways participating in extremist behaviour.

Some had travelled to Syria to fight, he said, while others were involved in funding extremism or radicalising other people.

The "Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill", which was also backed by the opposition Labour party, is temporary and will expire in 2017.