15 Mar 2023

Minister Andrew Little heads to eight-nation counter-terror meeting

3:07 pm on 15 March 2023
Labour MP Andrew Little

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Cabinet minister Andrew Little is flying to Melbourne today to meet with counter-terrorism representatives from seven other countries.

The trip is taking place on the anniversary of the 15 March terror attacks on Christchurch mosques.

Chaired by Australia and Indonesia, the meeting will also be attended by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Little is New Zealand's minister for Defence, the SIS and GCSB spy agencies, and the inquiry into the mosque attacks.

He says the meeting aims to make it safer for people within their own countries and South East Asia.

It is an "opportunity for discussion and collaboration on matters of security important to the region including global security, cyber resilience, and countering and preventing terrorism and violent extremism".

"As friends and neighbours, our countries recognise we have mutual global security challenges and working together will ensure we share insights and best-practise," he said.

"Key to the work we do is engaging and having open conversations with NGOs, private sector, academia and community leaders - New Zealand has embedded this into our response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry recommendations."

Little said he acknowledged he was travelling on the anniversary of the mosque attacks, "as is my responsibility, but as always the shuhada remain in my thoughts".

He is set to return to New Zealand on Friday 17 March.

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