30 Nov 2022

New Zealand drops terror threat level to 'Low'

2:34 pm on 30 November 2022
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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

New Zealand's terror threat level has today been dropped from 'Medium' to 'Low' after an annual review.

It follows Australia also lowering its threat level last week from "probable" to "possible", the first time it had changed since the rise of the Islamic State group in 2014.

The threat level in New Zealand was lifted to "High" on the day of the Christchuch terror attack in March 2019, and has been at "Medium" since it was lowered about a month later.

Medium means an attack is considered feasible and could well occur, while Low indicates a terorrist attack is a "realistic possibility".

The lowest level - Very Low - would indicate an attack is unlikely.

Announcing the move in a statement this afternoon, NZSIS director Rebecca Kitteridge - set to leave the role to take over as deputy public service commissioner in March - said it did not mean efforts to detect and investigate violent extremism would decrease.

"While the lowered threat level is a positive sign, the lowering of the threat level does not mean there is no threat," she said. "An attack remains a realistic possibility and individuals of concern are still being investigated.

"New Zealanders should still be alert to the signs of violent extremism and report behaviours and activities they find concerning."

She said the shift to a low threat level reflected the findings of a multi-agency group based on a range of public and classified information, but found no indication New Zealand was the target of credible and specific attack plans by violent extremist groups or individuals.

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