Who’s hiding what?

30/11/2020

The Royal Commission into the Christchurch mosque shootings has imposed a 30-year suppression on evidence given by ministers and senior public servants:

The commission’s report, which will be released by the Government on Tuesday, December 8, is expected to detail any failings within government organisations, including police and the spy agencies, in the lead up to the terror attack – including how the terrorist obtained a firearms licence.

Among the widespread suppression rulings made by the commission are the permanent suppression of the police staff involved in granting the Australian-national a firearms licence, including the two people who vouched for the terrorist.

Stuff has previously reported on police’s failure to properly scrutinise the terrorist, wrongly licencing him to purchase the stockpile of semi-automatic guns later used to murder 51 people.

Islamic Women’s Council national coordinator Anjum Rahman was concerned the suppression of evidence given by ministers and chief executives, in particular, might prevent accountability for negligence, wrong-doing, and incompetence. . . 

The commissioners decided the evidence provided by Government agency chief executives and current and former Cabinet ministers should be suppressed for 30-years, allowing public release in the future when national security concerns “dissipate”.

“Historians and others will have a legitimate interest in understanding in due course what those officials and former and current ministers had to say to a Royal Commission like ours.” . . 

There is a case for suppressing evidence that could be used as a how-to for other would-be killers. But surely all evidence provided by public sector CEOs and cabinet ministers  can’t fall into that category.

It’s not just future historians who will have a legitimate interest in understanding what these people said.

Survivors, victims’ families, many of whom may well be dead in three decades, and the wider public have a legitimate interest now.

The 30-year suppression begs the questions: who’s hiding what?

Another question is, what sort of administration error allowed the gunman to get a firearms licence when he shouldn’t have?

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. . . 

Mahrukh Sarwar and Nour Malak investigated how police let the terrorist get a gun licence that allowed him to buy the weapons he used in last year’s attack.

“If the police had followed their own processes, we are saying they should not have given him the licence,” Sarwar said.

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 you, over 20 years old, and knows you well.

But the terrorist’s referees were his online gaming friend and the online gaming friend’s father.

The young Muslims say this was an administrative failure by police that had a huge cost. . . 

If information that could answer how that happened is suppressed, can we be confident that whatever shortcomings led to it have been fixed so it never happens again?


Terrorist pleads guilty

26/03/2020

The man charged with the Christchurch mosque attacks has pleaded guilty:

At the High Court in Christchurch, Brenton Tarrant admitted 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

Until today he had denied all of the charges and was scheduled to stand trial in June. The guilty plea means he has become New Zealand’s first convicted terrorist.

The 29-year-old showed no emotion as he appeared via audio visual link in the High Court at around 10am.

No explanation for Tarrant’s change of heart was given during today’s hearing. He has been remanded in custody until May. . . 

This will save the taxpayer the cost, courts the time and most importantly the families and friends of those killed the distress of a prolonged defended trial.

The Prime Minister decided she would not say Tarrant’s name. That was a powerful political statement but it does not, and should not, fetter the media.

The names of criminals should be made public unless the court makes a suppression order.

Tarrant has pleaded guilty to the horrific slaughter of innocent people and his name should be associated with his crime.


Separation saved women

25/03/2019

The roll call of the 50 victims of the Christchurch mosque terror attacks show 46 men and four women.

 

The Muslim requirement for women to worship in a separate space from men cost the lives of more men and fewer women.

That isn’t an argument in  favour of discrimination or of women’s dependence.

The deaths of husbands has left some women desperately wondering how they’ll manage:

Widows of the mosque shooting victims are struggling in the wake of the attack. Some of the women needing support can’t drive and don’t hold jobs.

Shakti, a group helping women, has identified 13 families so far where women now facing life as sole providers. Some of them are very young, with young children and new to the country.

Shakti councillor Shila Nair says some women don’t hold a current license, making ordinary tasks more difficult.

“That kind of increases their difficulty by quantum leaps actually because driving is very essential to get to the shops and other places,” she told Newshub.

Others have been in co-dependent relationships and are struggling with everyday tasks. Nair says she visited a widow who doesn’t know how she will adapt.

“She told me, ‘How do I manage? Because I’ve never even gone out and done shopping on my own.'” . . 

The outpouring of aroha and sympathy and the show of compassion in the face of evil and tragedy have been heartwarming but most of us are already turning back  to our normal lives.

But normal isn’t normal any more for the families of victims.

ACC will provide some financial assistance but the women who have been left without husbands will need more practical help.


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