Auckland Supermarket Attack: New Zealand to strengthen anti-terror laws

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern vows to toughen anti-terror laws following Friday’s knife attack in Auckland by a man who was under police surveillance.

“We must be willing to make the changes that we know may not necessarily have changed history, but could change the future,” she said at a news briefing.

The man, a Sri Lankan national, stabbed seven people in a supermarket. Three of them are in a critical condition.

The attacker, a known supporter of Islamic State, was shot dead by police.

He has now been identified as Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, a 32-year-old Tamil, who arrived in New Zealand in 2011 and sought refugee status.

Ms Ardern, who described the stabbings as a “terrorist attack”, said she expected that changes to the country’s counter-terrorism legislation would be backed by parliament by the end of September.

The legislation is expected to make it easier to convict someone for planning a terror attack.

Samsudeen had been arrested a number of times before Friday’s incident. But Ms Ardern said that every legal avenue to keep him out of the community had been exhausted.

Prosecutors had accused him of plotting a “lone wolf” terror attack using knives, but the judge ruled that planning a terror attack was not in itself an offence under existing laws.

His internet search history and bookmarks included heroes of Islamic State, Islamic State dress, and New Zealand prison clothes and food, according to Stuff.

Questions have been raised about why action against the attacker was not taken before the stabbings, especially since he was under close surveillance.

Therefore with a new law in place it would be easier to prosecute anyone for planning an attack.