No need to strengthen airport security – Govt

  • 06/11/2014

Airport security doesn't need to be strengthened because 30 to 40 New Zealanders are being monitored over links to terrorist groups, the Government says.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday revealed the existence of the watch list and said five Kiwis were already in Syria fighting with Islamic State (IS) extremists.

He said others had tried to leave but couldn't because their passports had been cancelled.

The Security Intelligence Service is being given stronger powers and more resources to deal with potential threats posed by foreign fighters.

The Airline Pilots Association says increased security measures should be introduced at airports around the country.

"Security screening should be introduced immediately for all passengers travelling in New Zealand, not just those flying on jet aircraft as is currently the case," the association said.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the pilots shouldn't be concerned.

"Proposed changes to the surveillance arrangements will mean that we have close tabs on those people, in a much stronger way than is currently possible," he told reporters today.

"If they are under surveillance we would want to know where they're going, what they're going for and what they're up to."

Mr Key also announced yesterday that a team of up to 10 military planners would go to the Middle East to assess what role New Zealand could play in the US-led campaign against IS forces.

Three have already left, and it's expected Mr Key will shortly announce that New Zealand troops will go to Iraq to help train Iraqi forces.

NZN

source: newshub archive