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The Mapp Report: Are We Safe in New Zealand?

THE MAPP REPORT
www.wayne-mapp.co.nz

Are We Safe in New Zealand?

The Risks of Terrorism

Are we safe in New Zealand?

The revelation that the British terrorist suicide bombers were young men born and educated in the UK, will cause people to look afresh at how we ensure the preservation and promotion of democratic values in open societies.

Ironically, this news came the same day as the Broadcasting Standards Authority ruled that statements by Radio Pacific host Mark Bennett were inaccurate. Mark Bennett had said about Zaoui "(he's a terrorist)...it's been proven in Switzerland." The BST said it was inaccurate because Zaoui had not been charged with an offence in Switzerland.

Mark should have said Belgium. After all, the Belgian Court of Appeal convicted Zaoui of association with terrorists. That little reality was rather lost on the BST. The Belgian Court said:

" The sentence of Zaoui must take into account of the importance of the role played by him at the head of the association of criminal...and its activities."

These people had explosives, guns and money. Think of the similarities in Britain. Young, disaffected men, inspired by Al Qaeda and its leader Bin Laden have caused immense destruction on innocent people in a peaceable country. The victims include New Zealanders.

The Belgian Court of Appeal referred to:

" Zaoui('s) undoubted prestige and moral authority which allowed him to assume the role of key agent of the association that he commands and whose members gravitate around him."

This is the danger in New Zealand. We have in our midst a man who is capable of inspiring others - people who could do terrible things, if we accept the evidence presented in the Belgium criminal courts. Is this a risk we want to take?

Terrorism is a challenge facing all of us in Western nations. New Zealand is part of the fight against the terrorist cells. Our elite SAS troops are in Afghanistan, to snare the very heart of the beast.

Are our defence forces and intelligence forces properly equipped to do the jobs? Do they have the right relationships, information and equipment? Our forces are now facing extremely difficult challenges. The Prime Minister has previously referred to the "benign strategic environment"; self evidently this is no longer true. The Labour government has put a lot of emphasis on defence forces being able to fulfil a wide variety of coastguard, and emergency relief and civil tasks.

The big question is whether the balance is right.

The last five years have graphically demonstrated the terrorist danger. Defeating terrorism is the key challenge now facing our defence forces. It requires excellent relationships, information sharing and the right training. Our forces need to have the latest technology to work alongside longstanding friends and allies in hostile places such as Afghanistan.

The level of overstretch is a major concern of New Zealand's top military leaders. Air Marshall Ferguson, Chief of Defence, in his speech this week to the RSA National Conference, said:

"The job of the soldier was now more difficult as terrorism changed how war was carried out. Military personnel were fighting terrorism, while also trying to create and maintain the respect of ordinary people through humanitarian work and interacting with communities"

John Carter, National's defence spokesman, will be speaking on these critical defence issues in the North Shore on Monday, 18th July, at 7.30pm.


DEFENCE PUBLIC MEETING

Wayne Mapp MP North Shore

John Carter, National's Defence Spokesperson

Monday, 18th July

1930 Hours

Rose Centre, Belmont,

NORTH SHORE

All Welcome


15th July 2005

18th July 2005

Public Meeting on Defence, with National's Defence spokesperson John Carter, 7.30pm.

Venue: The Rose Centre, Belmont.

For Enquiries, phone 09 486 0005

Dr Wayne Mapp

Visit my website for more information at: www.wayne-mapp.co.nz

ENDS

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