INDEPENDENT NEWS

PM on mosque attacks anniversary: 'A year on gives us a chance as a nation to reflect'

Published: Fri 13 Mar 2020 02:50 PM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand and its people have fundamentally changed after the Christchurch mosque attacks.
Watch Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking here:
Ardern was speaking in Christchurch where she is attending events commemorating the 15 March attacks which claimed the lives of 51 people and injured dozens more.
The prime minister said she wanted to acknowledge the Muslim community in New Zealand and the ongoing generosity the community had shown.
She said memorials were not traditional in Muslim communities but they acknowledged it was something the public might wish to mark.
"A year on gives us a chance as a nation to reflect on changes that have happened."
Speaking about the measures taken after the attacks, she said the government moved immediately to ban semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles.
She said 60,907 prohibited firearms were removed from circulation.
The second tranche of gun legislation was expected to pass in the next weeks or months.
Ardern said circulation of videos of terror attacks had far diminished under the Christchurch Call, an agreement to try and eliminate harmful content online.
Talking about the victims she said "We looked at every single need and tried to address it".
There was also additional funding of $17 million given to the Canterbury DHB for mental health support.
"A year on, I feel New Zealand and its people have fundamentally changed," Ardern said.
"I can't see how you could have an event like this and not [change]."
"The challenge for us will be ensuring in our everyday actions, and every opportunity where we see bullying, harassment, racism, discrimination, calling it out as a nation," she said, "that is when we'll show we each individually have a role to play in making sure that New Zealand has changed fundamentally for the better."
On Sunday Ardern will speak at the national remembrance service, Ko Tātou, Tātou We Are One, to mark the anniversary of the attacks.
Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Dr Hamimah Tuyan, whose husband Zekeriya died after 48 days in intensive care, Imam Alabi Lateef from the Linwood Islamic Centre and Imam Gamal Fouda from Al Noor Mosque will also address the service at Horncastle Arena.
Thousands are expected to attend the remembrance service. Canterbury's medical officer of health Doctor Ramon Pink said it was vital those considering attending events followed the latest health advice on Covid-19, and people should stay at home if they are sick.
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