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Bill English: Response To Terrorist Attacks

Response to Ministerial Statement
Bill English, Deputy Leader,
National Party 12 September 2001

On behalf of the Hon Jenny Shipley and the National Opposition I wish to join with the Deputy Prime Minister in condemning the terrorist attacks which occurred in the United States today, and in offering our deepest condolences to the American people and to the families of the victims from all nations.

The Opposition also wishes to state its support for the Government's response to this disaster.

Along with them we condemn with the deepest abhorrence a terrorist action unprecedented in history; we condemn its perpetrators as well as the mindset behind this action.

The conventional vocabulary of moral outrage has sadly been already exhausted by this holocaust of innocent civilian lives.

New Zealanders are foremost among friends of the United States. We condemn the suffering that has been inflicted on that great nation. We stand by them as they attempt to understand this invisible menace. It is a menace which threatens us all and defies the values which New Zealanders and Americans profess as free nations.

We look also to their strengths and applaud the message of President Bush that this free nation stands unbowed.

This enormous loss of life is hard to comprehend, - the lives of people going about their daily productive life, enjoying the benefits of freedom and of security which they and we took for granted.

Now is not the time to dig yet into the causes and consequences of these events. Suffice it to say that today has the feeling of a day on which the world has changed.

Things will never be the same again. The threats to freedom and security have changed - if we weren't sure yesterday, then we do know today.

We will stand with the international community in its efforts to better understand and better protect free people from the threat of terrorism.

This act of terrorism demonstrates the depth of destruction which humanity can reach. The sheer arbitrary nature of these events will, I hope, remind us of our common humanity with those who differ from us but within the bounds of civilised behaviour. Our own differences are hairline cracks compared to the abyss that has opened up between all of us and the perpetrators of this extreme terrorism.

It attacks a way of life, a way of life in which we share. That is the best reason for New Zealand to participate in international efforts to combat terrorism. These horrors threaten the lives of our citizens as they move and work round the globe.

We wait to hear whether New Zealanders may have been caught up in this destruction. Our hearts go out to the New Zealanders who were living and working and travelling through New York at this time, and their families. You have our earnest hope that relatives and friends are safe.


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