4 Jun 2017

NZ govt to assess threat level following London attacks

10:56 pm on 4 June 2017

The government will meet with security analysts to assess New Zealand's terrorism threat level in the wake of the terror attacks in London, says Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee.

National MP, Gerry Brownlee.

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister, Gerry Brownlee. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

New Zealand would also offer whatever support it could to Britain, he said.

Mr Brownlee has written to his UK counterpart, Boris Johnson, offering New Zealand's condolences.

At least seven people and three attackers are dead with 48 people taken to hospitals across London.

Mr Brownlee said the government would be speaking with British intelligence about the motivation behind the attacks.

"We'll be interested over the coming days to hear more from the British intelligence services about ... what was the arrangements behind the perpetration of these attacks, and that will all feed into a mix that would make us, through our independent agency, consider what threat level New Zealand should have," he said.

New Zealanders with relatives in Britain should make sure they were all right and offer whatever support they could, he said.

Mr Brownlee said any New Zealanders travelling to Britain in the near future should respect security arrangements, and co-operate with local authorities.

However, he stopped short of advising New Zealanders planning trips to London to defer them.

"I think that would be taking it a step too far. The reality it that this type of terrorist activity can occur anywhere. We need to make sure we give our support wherever it's needed to British authorities as they try and track down the perpetrators.

"We should be respectful of security measures that are in place ... and that we should further recognise that shutting down our activities is giving in to what is a pretty sick doctrine coming out of the terrorists' desires," he said.

Some 'security risk'

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there was some security risk for people travelling to the UK.

It's advising New Zealanders travelling there to register their details with the ministry, to follow all security measures, and to stay vigilant.

Prime Minister Bill English has condemned today's terrorist attacks, saying nobody should have to live in fear because of their race, religion or beliefs.

Mr English said terrorists inflicted pain and suffering on innocent people, and reiterated New Zealand's commitment to fighting against it.

Meanwhile, Lions captain Sam Warburton spoke about the attacks while at Waitangi today.

"Just wanted to wish those involved, all the best wishes from the Lions players and management, just that our thoughts are always with the people back home and in Ireland, so our thoughts and deepest sympathies goes out to the families and people involved in that incident."

NZers overseas must be vigilant - security analyst

Auckland-based security expert Paul Buchanan said because of the country's isolation, the threat of a terrorist attack wasn't as pronounced in many New Zealanders' minds.

He said that meant New Zealanders had to be especially vigilant when travelling.

"The UK has become a target for jihadists and so what I would say to people is that when you go to public places then you need to be vigilant, you need to look around and try to notice anomalies and be prepared to exit quickly in the event that even the slightest hint of trouble develops, you know we tend to be a little slow.

"There are many good samaritans who will tend to run towards a possible disturbance in an effort to help out when in fact they should be headed the other way at least until the event has concluded."

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