N.Z. to spend NZ$30 mil. on counterterrorism measures.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said Wednesday that New Zealand will spend NZ$30 million (about US$12.5 million) over the next three years on counterterrorism measures following the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.
The largest slice of the new funding goes to intelligence agencies, including the Security Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Security Bureau and the External Assessments Bureau, which will receive NZ$11.7 million over the period.
Eight government agencies and departments will share the overall funding increase, which totals NZ$26.9 million in operating expenditure and NZ$2.8 million in capital expenditure.
Clark said in a statement that while New Zealand is geographically remote and an unlikely target, the possibility of terrorist attacks can never be ruled out.
''New Zealand needs to be alert to any possible connections between terrorist networks, their activities, and people living in New Zealand,'' she said.
Clark said the new funding will strengthen New Zealand's protective security measures.
''This includes enhanced border control, aviation security, and protective security measures at high profile or significant facilities,'' she said.
''The funding will also improve our intelligence agencies' ability to collect and evaluate foreign and domestic intelligence. A particular focus of their efforts will be to prevent New Zealand from being used as a safe haven to plan and facilitate terrorist attacks elsewhere.''
Clark said the funding would also improve New Zealand's capacity to respond to terrorist emergencies, including those of a chemical or biological nature.
Specific measures include the employment of 26 full-time police to provide security at New Zealand's six major airports and the establishment of a permanent police terrorism investigation and intelligence group.
New chemical and biological terrorism teams will be set up as part of the New Zealand Defense Force and NZ$3 million will be used to upgrade Customs capabilities to prevent New Zealand from being used as a base for terrorism.
The government will also implement improved immigration systems to screen out risk travelers before they arrive in the country.