How New Zealand could be attacked

The following is a purely hypothetical scenario in which militants attack a public target in New Zealand. It is constructed on the understanding there is as much danger closer to New Zealand as there is overseas and that failing states present an opportunity for national security threats to evolve in the South Pacific.

The Solomon Islands are in chaos. The Government has collapsed amid sectarian tensions. The rule of law extends no further than Honiara and large rural centres. Militia’s dominating their own patches have established themselves. A healthy trade of light weapons including rifles, rocket propelled grenade launches and hand guns is flourishing. Neighbouring Papua New Guinea is also very weak, and unable or unwilling to stem the flow of illegal goods from Irian Jaya. Neighbouring countries look on in alarm, but none have the resources or the international standing necessary to carry out any sort of intervention. Human rights abuses are rampant as is organized crime. Australia and New Zealand are busy fighting a foreign foe. Their intelligence assets are not focussed on the South Pacific and reports detailing potential attacks sit untouched on the desks of officials on both sides of the Tasman Sea.

On the surface it looks like just a defunct nation with no working legal system or law enforcement. Underneath the surface something more sinister is happening. An unknown militant group with international support has established contacts with criminal elements in the Solomon Islands, looking for a way into New Zealand without raising the attention of the authorities. They have a large amount of money, are well resourced and unbeknownst they have false New Zealand passports. Contacts in Wellington and Hamilton are going to provide them with housing and transport assistance. The plan is to acquire a large amount of explosives, as well automatic weapons with a view to attacking a well known public site when the maximum number of people are in the area.

As the planning progresses, the targets are narrowed down. A rugby fixture in Hamilton during the Super 15 season is one possible target. A railway station in peak hour commute is another. Possible targets for individual attackers to hit are also being drawn up. The individuals carrying out the attacks will have access to semi-automatic weapons and explosive charges. At no point do the neighbours notice anything suspicious – quiet, polite. The attackers seem like ordinary people, albeit perhaps a bit aloof.

Philosophically the attackers contempt for life is maximum. Society at large is poisoned. Only a bloody retribution will help to solve the problem. They want to cause as many deaths as possible, do as much damage as possible and prolong the resulting emergency for as long as they can. Maximum chaos is the order of the day.

Eventually the day of the attack arrives. The attackers are dressed to blend into the crowd, and look no different from any of the many people that they walk past. No suspicions appear to be raised. Security at the target site is no more stringent than any of the days spent observing it. The time has come, the hour is here and New Zealanders are none the wiser. Lax trans-Tasman intelligence co-operation will now pay a very high price.

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