The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) received a marked increase in tip-offs about potential extremist views and activity following the 15 March 2019 mosque attacks in Christchurch.
“The volume of lead information received rose in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch attacks,” the NZSIS’s annual report notes. “Unsurprisingly, an increasing proportion of these leads related to right-wing extremism.”
The report also reveals that during the period of the report, between 30 and 50 individuals have been under active investigation by the security agency in relation to violent extremism.
“Following the Christchurch Mosque attacks, the NZSIS initiated several specific investigative and operational responses. Our response included expanding efforts to identify any individuals who may be intent on planning, facilitating, supporting, encouraging or inciting attacks in New Zealand, motivated by a violent right-wing extremist ideology.
“New Zealand government agencies continue to work closely in response to a significant upswing in information being reported by the public in the immediate aftermath of the 15 March attacks, and from a range of other sources, in relation to possible terrorism threats.
In her foreward to the report, NZSIS Director-General Rebecca Kitteridge outlines some other areas the agency has been active in to secure New Zealand’s safety.
“Besides the prevailing security issue of violent extremism, the NZSIS continued to be concerned by the global rise in the scale and aggression of foreign interference and espionage. Together with other agencies in the New Zealand Intelligence Community, the NZSIS has briefed various organisations in a range of sectors over the last year about foreign interference and its impact on our economy, democracy and international reputation,” she says.