An Islamic studies specialist says people with links to al Qaeda exist in New Zealand and are a risk to the community. Zain Ali, from the University of Auckland, says the terrorist group has a clear agenda to instil fear and terror.
“They’re always looking to recruit. And I think even John Key’s statement indicates that intelligence services are monitoring people who already have links. So it’s not so much links that are being developed. I think there are already people here who may already have links.”
However, Dr Ali says with such a violent mindset, the best option is to contain them rather than just monitor them.
Robert Patman, professor of international relations at the University of Otago, says citizens from Australia and Britain have trained with al-Qaeda and it would be wrong to conclude New Zealand is different, though he doubts the danger is sufficient to justify strengthening surveillance laws.
However, security analyst, Dr Paul Buchanan, says the threat of terrorism is an insignificant part of the work intelligence agencies do, and it’s misleading to use the threat of a terrorist attack to justify expanding cyber surveillance abilites of the GCSB.