Early this morning specialist armed Police carried out search warrants at locations throughout New Zealand in relation to firearms offences.
Commissioner Howard Broad said that police were acting on information that over 2006/2007 a number of people had been conducting and participating in training camps in the Eastern Bay of Plenty involving the use of firearms and other weapons.
"The decision to take enforcement action was not made lightly. Based on the information and the activity known to have taken place, I decided it was prudent that action should be taken in the interests of public safety."
Over 300 police staff were involved at the peak of the operation this morning. Many of them have now returned to their normal duties.
Searches of the scenes have resulted in the seizures of firearms and arrests for firearms offences.
The search warrants were obtained under the Summary Proceedings Act to search for evidence of the committing of offences against the Arms Act and possibly the Terrorism Suppression Act.
Police will be gathering and assessing all available evidence before making a decision as to the nature of the charges to be laid under the TSA.
"We're aware that this is the first time that the Terrorism Suppression Act has been considered in terms of an operation. We are, therefore, proceeding with full care in talking to people and assessing information before we can determine whether there is sufficient evidence to seek the consent of the Attorney General through the Solicitor General to charge anyone under that Act.