There are no immediate plans to tighten security measures across New Zealand shopping centres and cinemas following a warning the nation is a "sitting duck" for a terror attack.
In the wake of New Zealand joining the war on Islamic State and Security Intelligence Service boss Rebecca Kitteridge confirming New Zealand was at increased risk of a terrorist attack, security expert Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor said New Zealand urgently needed a major domestic security overhaul.
She spoke as Australian counter-terrorism police yesterday arrested five people in Melbourne over an alleged Anzac Day terror plot.
Ms Sullivan-Taylor, whose CV includes reviewing the UK's national security and Civil Contingencies Act for then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, said New Zealand needed to upgrade security measures to match those in the UK and the US, including greater video monitoring of shoppers.
Westfield shopping malls, Vector Arena, Eden Park and the Sky Tower were among potentially vulnerable targets, she said.
New Zealand should consider the introduction of bag checking at malls and adjoining movie theatres, routine ID checks, restricted entry to rooftop or basement carparks and issuing security passes for mall workers.
However, none of the shopping centres or cinemas contacted by NZME. News Service today said they would be increasing security following the warning.
Linda Trainer, general manager of shopping at Scentre Group New Zealand, which manages Westfield shopping centres, said safety was a "priority" to the company, and "any threat is treated seriously".
"Whilst it is Scentre Group's policy not to publicly discuss security procedures, we can confirm significant business resources are focussed on the risk and security arrangements in our centres. This includes the resources of our global risk and security teams," she said.
"New technology is considered in conjunction with our on-going needs assessment.
"We carry out exercises with regard to risk and safety as part our Health and Safety Policies with our own teams and this extends to retailers.
"Whilst we are not able to comment specifically, we consider a range of technological initiatives and their suitability in a shopping centre environment."
Carmen Switzer, chief executive of Event Cinemas, said the company had "no comment at this stage", but said it had "a lot of standard stuff in place".
Kiwi Property, which runs New Zealand's largest shopping centre, Silvia Park in Auckland, as well as a number of other centres across the country, did not return calls and emails for comment.
In February, al-Qaeda-linked terror group al Shabab called on extremists to attack shopping malls in Western nations, specifically Westfield, of which there are nine in New Zealand.
"Because security in countries like the US and the UK is much higher, it's possible that a brand that also operates here could be targeted as a way of terrorists getting their message back to the US and UK more easily," Ms Sullivan-Taylor said.
"The result could well be major international chains start to step up security measures in New Zealand in order to reduce exposure and give themselves as much protection here as they have overseas, which is then likely to see their competitors follow suit."
A police spokesman would not discuss specific security measures for Anzac Day, but said in light of police foiling the alleged Melbourne plot, they would confer with their counterparts across the Tasman.
SkyCity confirmed it constantly looked at its security measures.
Meanwhile, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews promised the state would have the "best possible" security around Anzac Day events following yesterday's foiled alleged terror plot, Australian media reported.
Two of five teenagers arrested in pre-dawn raids in Melbourne remain in custody today, while the other three have been released pending further inquiries into the alleged attack targeting police on Anzac Day, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) said.
Urging Victorians to attend Anzac Day services and events in spite of the alleged threat, Mr Andrews said: "The Victorian community can rest assured that Victoria Police, in co-operation with the Australian Federal Police and other security agencies, will have in place on Anzac Day the best possible arrangements to do everything that can be done to keep Victorians safe."
Following yesterday's raids, Sevdet Besim, 18, from Hallam, was charged with conspiring to commit a terrorist act and was remanded in custody until Friday. Another 18-year-old, from Narre Warren, will be charged on summons with weapons offences, AAP reported.