New Zealander with links to Islamic State went months without meeting police despite being under terrorism control order

Newshub can reveal a New Zealander with links to Islamic State, who was supposedly placed under intense supervision, went months without meeting with police.

The subject of New Zealand's first-ever interim terrorism control order, imposed for 12 months,  also completed it without police conducting a single search of their home.

The person is only known as 'R'.

"They either could be directly involved in a terror incident themselves, or two, they could try to propagate or support or finance or encourage others," said law professor Alexander Gillespie.

As part of the order, the person was to report to a constable when police requested, but no more than twice a week.

Newshub can reveal that between September 2021 and August 2022, R only met police on 15 of a possible 104 occasions, including a two-month gap without reporting in and three month-long gaps.

The control order also placed restrictions on travel, access to the internet, bank accounts and communication with anyone connected to a terrorist group.

Police also had powers to conduct searches. They searched electronic devices on just seven occasions, finding no items of interest, but they never searched R's home during the order.

Police declined to be interviewed for this story, instead issuing a statement saying matters such as the number and timing of meetings with the person reflect whether they were deemed to be necessary and beneficial. 

"I think they've probably analysed the risk and what needed to be applied quite carefully and they were very cautious about overstepping, especially since this is the first time that it had been applied," Prof Gillespie said.

Police Minister Chris Hipkins told Newshub: "I am confident they work with their partner agencies and follow best practise on a case-by-case basis to fulfil their role effectively."

Meanwhile, National's police spokesperson Mark Mitchell said: "These control orders are in place for a reason and that is because that person poses some type of threat or the ability to carry out some sort of terrorist attack and public safety comes first."

Many details of R's identity remain suppressed but they are now subject to a phased integration plan back into society.

"This is the first one. I doubt this will be the last one but you will see is that the type of people it's associated with may change over time," Prof Gillespie said.