Government Fails to See the Wood on Terrorist Acts

Opinion by Rupert Pye

It was sort of deja vu – a feeling of familiarity – when Prime Minister Ardern told New Zealanders that the government did everything they could to prevent the New Lynn Countdown stabbings by an Isis terrorist.
The reality was government blundered just as it did with the March 15 (The Ides of March) 2019 terrorist act on the Muslim people at the Christchurch mosque.
The deja vu doesn’t end there. 
In the 2019 atrocity the terrorist Brenton Tarrant was an Australian. The police granted him a firearm licence despite glaring irregularities in his application. Reportedly he applied in Hamilton when resident in Dunedin. He had no proper referees, only a couple of on-line contacts and reportedly he was under surveillance by Australian authorities.
And he was not a New Zealand citizen.
Less than a month after the mosque shootings, New Zealand’s parliament voted by 119 to 1 on reforms banning semi-automatic sporting rifles as well as parts that could be used to build prohibited firearms. Only ACT’s sole MP, party leader David Seymour voted against the absurdly rushed law.
The government offered to compensate owners of newly-illegal firearms in a buy-back scheme. It was ill-conceived law, rushed through a parliamentary select committee in the blink of an eye. Reportedly over 12,000 submissions were read and considered in just two days, arrogantly defying credibility and also defying and defeating the very basic principles of democracy.
The “over-night” new law achieved nothing – in reality, it achieved the opposite. Gangs were offering owners of the newly illegal firearms, double the price government would pay. So the end result was targeting the law-abiding firearm owning public while gangs were able to add to their arsenals.
Reiterating, Tarrant was not a New Zealand citizen.
Nor was the terrorist in the recent New Lynn supermarket stabbing named in court documents as 32-year-old Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, a Tamil Muslim from Sri Lanka who arrived in New Zealand 10 years ago on a student visa seeking refugee status. He was granted the visa in 2013.
Not New Zealanders
Like Tarrant he was a foreigner and who prior to the New Lynn attack had been under surveillance for many months.
But the Prime Minister arrogantly side stepped government incompetence and responsibility by conveniently not telling the public the full story.
As one commentator explained, “she then went on to say that the High Court refused to convict and imprison him on planning a terrorist attack. What she didn’t say however was that the High Court Judge who made that decision (in July 2020) was so concerned that the law was inadequate (because planning a terrorist attack was not an offence in New Zealand and wouldn’t allow him to imprison this man) that in a rare move he requested High Court staff to send his judgment to the Attorney General, the Solicitor General and the Law Commission with this advice.  That was in July 2020.” 
Fourteen months ago the Judge warned there was a potential serious threat to public safety from “lone wolf” attacks following the 2019 Christchurch terror attack. And that was exactly what the New Lynn terrorist did.
The warning was given to government over 14 months ago. But the Prime Minister, Police Minister and Cabinet sat on their hands and failed to heed the judge’s warning. 
Simple Law Change
All that was needed was a simple addition to current law that could have been made in a month and moved into law under urgency.
Where was the president of the Police Association Chris Cahill, so shrill and strident in demonising the law-abiding firearm owning public following the mosque tragedy? 
Government can move  with blinding speed even riding roughed over democracy when it suits as it did following the Christchurch mosque tragedy. Australia and the UK already have this “planning a terrorist act” legislation and New Zealand could simply have adopted their wording.
As the commentator said “Labour had the numbers to do it alone even though there would be no objection from National and Act for tougher terrorist laws.” 
Reportedly police had some 30 officers involved in surveillance on the one person Sri Lankan. 
“This is absolutely absurd they had to do this because the required law change had not been made. Having 30 Police involved in watching this man 24/7 meant they totally believed he was planning a terrorist act.” 
To recap, both the terrorists were not New Zealand citizens.
Government incompetence allowed the tragedies to occur by (a) wrongly granting Tarrant a firearm licence and failing to check his background and (b) not urgently updating the terrorist legislation to enable the deportation of 32-year-old Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen who was clearly seen by the judge as a very real potential threat.
Government and PM Adern failed to see the wood for the trees.
 The outcome was the 2019 Mosque massacre and the 2021 New Lynn supermarket knife attack which together resulted in loss of life and severe long term injuries.

© Australian Brenton Tarrant – somehow he was granted a NZ firearm licence.
Photo Reuters

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8 Responses to Government Fails to See the Wood on Terrorist Acts

  1. "Justice Joe" says:

    So where does that leave Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and government in relation to accountability?

  2. Nicholas Smith says:

    The point is made excellently that the two offenders were not New Zealanders. In both cases they should have been stopped in their evil intentions. But due to incompetence by government and police, they were not.
    Besides the shocking loss of life and maiming people not forgetting the trauma and stress that could last for years, the other “victims” were the law respecting firearm owning public.
    As “Justice Joe” wrote, will the P.M. and government be held to account?

  3. Alan+Rennie says:

    This Govt does not adhere to the laws of the land, Our NKTIinc medact case we won in the high court proves that, they changed the law the next day, At root, the problem facing us is as to whether pursuit of our objectives through the courts as they are at present constituted is worthwhile. As we have seen, the law can be adjusted, and has been, to avoid accountability even when we have made our case through a weak and compromised judiciary. What, it might well be asked, is the point of proving the same point over again? Even assuming success, we cannot assume justice will be done. Likely, it will not. Our habits of thought require revision before we can make rational decisions on how to proceed, THIS GOVT MUST GO

  4. Chaz Forsyth says:

    With respect to the two incidents, one by firearm, the other by knife, a double standard is glaringly obvious in the treatment accorded the perps: one is supposed to remain unmentionable in certain circles, the other was soon ‘outed’.

    Picking on licensed firearm owners (and their registered firearms) was a far easier (re-)action than trying to control a demonstrably uncontrollable violent offender. Even more noticeable was the defiance shown to the measures proposed by the central government by certain gangs.

    Just fascinating.

  5. Justice Will B. Dunn. says:

    Doesn’t fill one with confidence in the powers that be… imagine when the new gun registry is hacked and every crim in the country has access to a shopping list of who has what and where…

  6. Dave says:

    This Government will not and has not governed for the people all the PM is doing is full filling her own ambitions which are not the people. Where are the laws for accountability for our leaders? There is none and she will push until something spills over which is going to happen very soon.

  7. "Democrat" says:

    There is a ludicrous double standard here.
    The PM and her “sicko-phantic” cabinet rushed to undemocratically pass a law banning the firearm Tarrant used but did not rush law through to ban the style of kitchen knife the New Lynn stabber used.
    When a cool head was needed following the Mosque killings, the PM was like a headless chook, panicking and trampling over democracy. The select committee was a farce.
    Is there no one in Cabinet who could stand up and be counted or are they all compliant to the Queen Bee?

  8. You all may be interested as my Late Father , had some great sayings ? that I was
    ear bashed with growing up , as follows >> Three things in Life that are quite RARE . >> Have you ever sighted a DEAD DONKEY ? NO, cos they live for DONKEYS YEARS ! then Number Two >> A Roadman SWEATING through hard work ! & Number Three >> AN HONEST POLITICIAN ? ///// Another of his sayings >> YOU CAN MIX THE RACES ? only ” NOT” the RELIGIONS !! //// So what made my Father so bloody adamant to think like that about Religion & Politicians ? He served as a Medic in the Army , early 1945 was ordered into “Bergan Belson Nazi Death Camp ” sadly to TRY treat the mostly Jewish inmates, suffering from Starvation & Typhus .

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