NZ now party to all 12 UN terrorism conventions

  • Phil Goff
Foreign Affairs and Trade

New Zealand is now fully compliant with its international obligations to counter terrorism, having become party to all 12 United Nations terrorism conventions, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

The final two conventions, for which New Zealand diplomats deposited the instruments of accession last Friday, covered the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purposes of Detection, and the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

Mr Goff said the government had been working to strengthen counter-terrorism laws since the World Trade Centre attacks on September 11, 2001. At that time, New Zealand was a party to only eight of the 12 conventions that the international community had negotiated over the last 30 years.

"One plank of the government's counter-terrorism measures since September 11 was a determination to become party to the remaining four conventions," Mr Goff said.

"A year ago we became party to the terrorist bombings and terrorist financing conventions, and passage of the Counter Terrorism Bill in October cleared the way for us to become party to the final two.

"The Counter Terrorism Bill created the offences of improperly dealing with unmarked plastic explosives or nuclear or radioactive material, which carry penalties of up to 10 years' jail and a $500,000 fine.

“This year's devastating attacks on civilians in Riyadh, Istanbul, Baghdad and Jakarta are a tragic reminder of the threat posed by international terrorism.

“Passage of the Terrorism Suppression Act last year, and this year’s counter-terrorism measures, have enhanced New Zealand’s ability to deal effectively with terrorist activities and threats," Mr Goff said.

The first terrorism conventions related to aviation security and followed a spate of hijackings in the 1970s. They covered hostage taking, internationally protected persons (including diplomats), and nuclear material.

The focus in the 1980s was on maritime terrorism, following the hijacking of the Achille Lauro, while three further conventions, on plastic explosives, terrorist bombings and terrorist financing, were negotiated in the 1990s.