Mak­ing New Zealand safer

The Northland Age - - Local Life / Opinion -

In the af­ter­math of the Christchur­ch ter­ror at­tacks, we are ask­ing our­selves many dif­fi­cult ques­tions. Why has this hap­pened here? How can we help the vic­tims? How we can we heal as a na­tion? Are we safe?

We have all come to­gether to ex­press our grief, and to show our sol­i­dar­ity with the Mus­lim com­mu­nity. Strongly af­firm­ing our val­ues of com­pas­sion, tolerance, and man­aak­i­tanga is a cru­cial way we can make sure New Zealand is safe for ev­ery­one.

The gov­ern­ment is de­ter­mined to find out how the at­tack could hap­pen, and to make sure it can never hap­pen again. We’ve agreed to hold a Royal Com­mis­sion of In­quiry to look into the sus­pected ter­ror­ist’s ac­tiv­i­ties lead­ing up to the at­tack, and to un­der­stand what op­por­tu­ni­ties gov­ern­ment agen­cies, de­part­ments and the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity might have had to pre­vent it.

The Royal Com­mis­sion will iden­tify what steps can be taken to make sure this never hap­pens again.

One way to pro­tect New Zealand is to make sure we have safe and ef­fec­tive gun laws. That’s why, six days af­ter the at­tack, we an­nounced a ban on mil­i­tary-style semi-au­to­matic weapons and as­sault ri­fles. Parts used to con­vert other guns into mil­i­tarystyle semi-au­to­mat­ics are also be­ing banned, along with all high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines.

Ev­ery weapon used in the Christchur­ch ter­ror at­tack is now banned.

Par­lia­ment is united on the need for this change, and there has also been wide­spread sup­port amongst the firearms-own­ing com­mu­nity. There will also be ex­emp­tions to al­low the use of .22 cal­i­bre ri­fles and shot­guns com­monly used by farm­ers and hun­ters.

Since the at­tack, New Zealan­ders have used so­cial me­dia to share trib­utes, re­ceive up­dates, and to or­gan­ise memo­ri­als and vig­ils at­tended by thou­sands. So­cial me­dia can be used as a force for good, but sadly it can also be used as a force for hate. That’s why we are ask­ing tough ques­tions about the role so­cial me­dia have played in the at­tacks them­selves.

As the Prime Min­is­ter has said, we need to think glob­ally about how we can stop hate­ful ma­te­ri­als ap­pear­ing and reap­pear­ing on so­cial me­dia. We have made our ex­pec­ta­tion clear, that in­ter­net com­pa­nies and so­cial me­dia plat­forms do all they can to en­sure the video is not dis­trib­uted. New Zealand will be a lead­ing part of the global con­ver­sa­tion on stop­ping the spread of hate on so­cial me­dia.

The gov­ern­ment is tak­ing ev­ery ac­tion to en­sure the safety of New Zealan­ders. Our threat alert level re­mains high, mean­ing the po­lice and se­cu­rity ser­vices will pro­vide ex­tra pro­tec­tion, at the bor­der and in pub­lic places.

We have wit­nessed New Zealand’s worst-ever ter­ror at­tack. Our his­tory has changed for­ever. But we can make sure it never hap­pens again — and that takes the kind of re­solve and unity that New Zealan­ders have shown in re­cent days.

With your help, we can and will tri­umph over hate.

"New Zealand will be a lead­ing part of the global con­ver­sa­tion on stop­ping the spread of hate on so­cial me­dia."

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