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No evidence of terrorism says expert

Published: 10:30AM Wednesday October 17, 2007 Source: ONE News

An terrorism expert says he believes the alleged activities of the groups targeted in the raids fall well short of terrorism.

International terrorism expert Paul Buchanan says there is no evidence to suggest that the police are dealing with domestic terrorism in the case of the raids carried out throughout New Zealand on Monday.

"I think it falls far short of terrorism. You have to think about it this way, we were fortunate that no shots were fired, but that tells you something about the nature of the threat," says Buchanan.

"The lead counter terror agency in this country is the SAS. If these guys were a credible threat - if they posed a clear and present danger to the nation, I would assume it wouldn't be the police but the SAS and they would do it without a lot of fanfare," he adds.

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell says there are a number of different types of training courses being run in the Urewera National Park for youth at risk. Some of those are sponsored by the government.

"We know that there have been some successful courses co-sponsored with WINZ and the NZ Army through Ngati Awa. Whether they are actually associated with the Tuhoe courses or wananga spoken about on TV... it's fairly clear they are a different set and the wananga associated with the people of Tuhoe are self-sponsored courses."

Flavell said people from the Tuhoe nation, including elders, had expressed their concerns to him concern over how the issue had been handled.

"They spoke about 40 to 70 police going into Ruatoki Valley - one road in and one road out - is a big huge overkill. They feel if there were concerns about guns, they could have used some sort of other legislation to carry out the work," he says.