A bill making it easier to prosecute people for planning and preparing a terrorist attack has been overwhelmingly passed by Parliament with the support of Labour and National.
It was opposed by Act, the Green Party and the Māori Party.
The Counter Terrorism Legislation Bill makes it explicit that planning and preparing a terrorism attack is an offence and it carries a maximum penalty of seven years.
Any prosecution for planning a terrorist act will also have to establish three other things to succeed, namely that the offender:
• Intended to cause a serious outcome such as death or injury;
• Had a purpose of advancing an ideological, political or religious cause; and
• Intended to intimidate a population or to coerce or force a government or organisation into acting or abstaining from acting.
The reference in the third leg to an intention to intimidate is a change from the current law, which says there must be an intention to cause "terror."
The bill as introduced lowered the threshold in the definition of a terrorist act to an intention to cause "fear" instead of "terror" but the justice select committee settled on "intimidate".
That brings it into line with definitions in Australia and Britain.
The Crown last year sought to prosecute Auckland Islamic State follower Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen for planning and preparation of a terrorist act under the existing law. But it was disallowed by High Court judge Justice Mathew Downs.
He said it was not possible and was endorsed by the Royal Commission into the 2019 mosque attacks which said the absence of precursor offences was a gap in the existing law.
Samsudeen was convicted of lesser offences. Several months after being released this year, he carried out a frenzied knife attack at LynnMall, New Lynn before being shot and killed by police.
The terrorism law was first passed in 2002 after the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda on the United States and it has been amended in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Work on possible changes to the Terrorism Suppression Act began in 2018. The bill was introduced in April this year and the justice committee had heard all submitters by the time of the attack.
After the LynnMall attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised that the bill would be passed by the end of September.
Act and the Greens claim the bill has been rushed.
The bill also provides that certain provisions in the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 allowing warrantless powers in some circumstances will be able to be used for planning and preparation offences.
"Because of the fluid, unpredictable nature by which preparations may move to more advanced conduct, warrantless powers are needed to intervene quickly and prevent the activity from escalating," the Government legislative statement said.
The bill also allows control orders for terrorists to be extended to individuals in New Zealand who have completed a prison sentence for a terrorism-related offence.
Until now, they apply only to people returning to New Zealand after having engaged in terrorism-related activities overseas.
Justice Minister Kris Faafoi was asked in Parliament this week if the bill would have made any difference to the ability of the Lynn Mall terrorists to carry out his attack.
"That is a very difficult question to answer," Faafoi said.
"Legislation alone cannot prevent attacks happening. But the legislation that we are implementing through the House will give the authorities — the likes of police — more powers, as we say, to intervene if they find serious evidence of motivation and intent and purpose, and also the bringing together of a number of actions where an individual or a group may be planning to undertake a terrorist attack."