New Zealand has classified American far-right groups Proud Boys and The Base as terrorist organizations, making it illegal for residents to fund, recruit for, or participate in the groups.
“These are white supremacist terrorist groups, and we don’t believe, and I don’t think New Zealanders believe that any New Zealander should be enabling and supporting them,” Police Minister Chris Hipkins said at a news conference on Thursday during which the designations were announced, VOA News reported.
In a 29-page document published earlier this week, the New Zealand Police said that the Proud Boys’ role in the January 6 Capitol riots had contributed to the decision.
Noting that the group’s “extreme right-wing ideology is founded on racist and fascist principles,” the document added that its actions before and during the attack on the US Capitol building showed “an intention to cause the death or serious bodily injury to people (including political figures).”
Meanwhile, New Zealand Police said in a separate document that The Base has intentions to “bring about a ‘race war'” in the US. Officials also cited the arrests of the group’s members accused of plotting to kill an activist couple and reported plans by three members of the group to carry out shootings in hopes of starting a “civil war.”
It is unclear if either group has a significant presence in New Zealand, though the document mentioned that The Base had previously attempted to recruit teenagers in neighboring Australia. Authorities also noted that there are unlinked but ideologically affiliated chapters of the Proud Boys operating in Australia.
The Proud Boys and The Base join 18 other groups, including the Islamic State, to be given an official terrorist designation in New Zealand.
According to the Associated Press, New Zealand has become more sensitive to threats from the far right after a white supremacist shot and killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two Christchurch mosques in 2019. Within a month of the massacre, New Zealand banned the circulation and use of military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles.