All eyes are on December 8 when the Royal Commission report back on the March 15 mosque attack by Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant.
Chief focus for many will be the failure of police to properly vet the Australian terrorist’s application for a firearm licence.
It’s not only the firearm community watching either. A failure by police to follow their own administrative guidelines allowed the March 15 terrorist to get his gun licence, according to an investigation by leading members of New Zealand’s Muslim community.
The police forms show one referee must be a spouse, partner, or next-of-kin who normally resides with or is related to you, and the other must be a person who is unrelated to the applicant, over 20 years old, and knows the applicant well.
But the terrorist’s referees were his online gaming friend and the online gaming friend’s father.
The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) wrote a report for the Royal Commission into the attack.
It found the terrorist should never have got the gun licence because he did not have appropriate referees – but police gave it to him anyway.
The Muslims say this was an administrative failure by police that had a huge cost.
“If they followed through their own policies that they set, 51 lives would have gone home on that day [on March 15],” said the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ).
The firearm owning public have been pointing the finger of blame long before now, squarely on the police, former police minister Stuart Nash and government.
Back in June the NZ Outdoors Party publicly pointed to police incompetence and responsibly for the mass murder by Tarrant.
“It was a well known secret that Tarrant’s firearm application had a number of irregularities that should have alerted the police. If they had followed due process they would have made enquiries to Australia, where Tarrant was reportedly under surveillance by Australian’s security agency,” said Alan Simmons co-leader of the New Zealand Outdoors Party.
Police Failed Again?
The Police then issued Tarrant a permit to procure thousands of rounds of ammunition. It was later revealed during a Select Committee hearing that when the ammunition supplier raised red flags and checked with police they told him to supply the ammunition.
“The police handling and ensuing cover-up of their failings is a disgrace” said Simmons. “Who accepts responsibility for this? Where was the Minister of Police? What did he know? Why did he allow this to be covered up for over a year while lawful gun owners took the butt of the police failures? Heads must roll for this abuse of power.”
The firearm-owning public had drawn attention about Tarrant’s firearm licence but instead the three party government chose in dictatorial fashion to hit the lawful community.
“It was blatantly undemocratic,” said Alan Simmons.
At the time the National Party’s parliamentary wing went along with the rushed removal of public rights. Later National realised the gross mistake and shifted position. Only the ACT party of parliamentary partes opposed the rushed firearm law.
“The role of the Police Association’s strident president – nominally a public servant – deserves scrutiny too,” said Alan Simmons.