Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
MP for Mt Albert
15 May 2019
Kia ora koutou katoa and warm greetings from Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Many of you will have come today from the Tech for Good Summit. Others will have been present at what has been called
the Christchurch Call.
Essentially, our motivations have been the same - to create change for the better.
In the wake of the terrorist attack in Christchurch New Zealand on the 15th of March, you may have seen many images or
Disturbingly, you may have also seen the attack itself.
Not because social media was created to be a platform for violence – but because a man thousands of miles away from here
used its openness and accessibility to spread hate.
In doing so he not only violated the standards set for those platforms, he violated our most basic sense of humanity.
But there were other images you may not have seen.
Like the one of a group of young people who answered the call from a local student leader that lost pupils in the attack
to gather together in a show of solidarity and mourning with our Muslim community.
Or the ones of an anti-racism rallies, or those of memorials organised hastily and organically all around New Zealand in
the days after the 15th of March.
All over New Zealand groups came together because they were connected to one another by social media. Connected for
For every example of hate, there is an example of good. But we run the risk of diminishing the positive elements of
technology if we simply accept that one will be a necessary part of the other. That an open and accessible internet
simply means that extremism will coexist in the same space.
I do not except that, and the participation of many of you in the Christchurch Call tells me that neither do you.
The Christchurch Call to action, which was agreed today, has a simple premise. That tech companies have both enormous
power, and enormous responsibility. And so do governments. We each have a role to play in protecting an open, free and
secure internet, and in protecting the freedom of expression.
But this has never and should never be used as a justification for leaving extremism and terrorism unchecked.
No one after all has the right to broadcast murder.
And so today we came together to make a start.
We pledged to each undertake a series of steps to prevent the proliferation of this kind of harmful content online.
We undertook to keep looking for the technological solutions that will make a difference, as well as the regulatory
We acknowledged that we can do more by collaborating than we can alone, and that while there will be areas where we
disagree and challenge each other, there will also be areas where we agree.
The same could be said for so many of the challenges we face as an international community.
Digital disruption, inequality, the future of work, right through to climate change - the biggest issue of mine and
President Macron’s generation and the generation to come - technology has a significant and powerful role to play for
each of these challenges.
For that to happen, we each have to play our part.
For our part as governments, we can be enablers and collaborators.
Provide an environment where technology can thrive and so too the creators and innovators.
Create the space to ask questions and to debate solutions rather than shout each other down.
At the same time, technology companies can continue to seek solutions to our most pressing challenges while civil
society guides us in our duty of care to seek solutions that don’t undermine basic rights and freedoms.
I’d like to think the Christchurch Call has tried to model this approach.
To those who came to join us for this express purpose from Senegal, Indonesia, Canada, Norway, Ireland, Jordan, the
United Kingdom and European Union, I thank you for your leadership.
To President Macron, I called you some six weeks ago with a view on what we needed to do in the wake of the terrorist
attack we experienced, and you have been a willing and open partner. My express gratitude to you for your leadership.
And to each of us. As humans, we are all here and motivated possibly by different things.
Whether it’s your belief in the power of these new technologies to organise and unite, the ability to solve problems,
the power of being able to freely express an idea that can be amplified beyond your own borders.
For me, well my motivation is simple.
To never ever again have to stand in front of a group of young people who were amongst the millions who saw the
indiscriminate murder of 51 members of their communities, knowing that we could have done something to prevent that.
There are solutions, we just need to commit to finding them.
Thank you for being a part of that.
No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.