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Prime Ministerial Statement On Bali Bombing

Ministerial statement on Bali bombing

Mr Speaker

All New Zealanders are appalled by the cold-blooded and barbaric terrorist attack on Saturday evening in Bali, Indonesia, which has shattered scores of innocent lives. Our thoughts are first and foremost with those caught in this tragedy and with their families, friends, and communities.

The largest numbers of victims are from Indonesia, followed by those from Australia. I have conveyed the condolences of the government and people of New Zealand to Prime Minister John Howard and President Megawati Sukarnoputri for the serious losses their countries have suffered.

Reports indicate that visitors from many other countries were also killed and injured, including from New Zealand. Families across our country have been awaiting news of loved ones, and there is particular concern in the case of three people known to have been in the vicinity. Many New Zealanders are returning home from Bali deeply shocked and traumatised by what they have witnessed.

The New Zealand government is deeply shocked at the outrage perpetrated in Bali on innocent civilians in this major terrorist attack. The scale of the tragedy is enormous. Indonesian and Australian medical and emergency services face an overwhelming task in caring for hundreds of injured, many of whom have suffered serious burns. The government is committed to assisting wherever we can.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules and medical evacuation team flew to Darwin last night, to assist in transporting the injured to hospitals around Australia. Using two crews, it will be able to work 24 hours a day to relieve the Royal Australian Air Force, which has over the past two days been evacuating the majority of the injured tourist victims from Bali. New Zealand hospitals and medical staff have offered specialist care if needed, either in Australia or New Zealand.

I acknowledge with gratitude these offers and also the readiness to assist which has been expressed by the New Zealand community and business sector. As in all emergencies, New Zealanders are rallying around, including a number in Bali who have volunteered to help our consular team on the ground.

New Zealand also stands ready to respond positively to requests for assistance from Indonesia. Countless thousands of New Zealanders have enjoyed the traditional hospitality of Bali over many years, and are appalled that it was chosen as the target for such an attack.

The New Zealand government condemns these barbaric acts of terrorism in the strongest possible terms. We utterly condemn those who use terror and indiscriminate violence against innocent people. Those responsible must be hunted down and brought to justice and we welcome Indonesia's commitment to do all that it can to achieve that.

These events bring home to us the continuing threat of international terrorism and the need to work closely within the Asia Pacific and globally to counter this threat.

The most important contribution New Zealand can make to this global effort against terrorism is through intelligence and security measures. The government is determined to do everything it can to thwart terrorism. Terrorism has no boundaries. It can strike any place at any time.

Since September 11 the government has given priority to counter terrorism measures. In January this year, we committed an extra $30 million over three years to agencies involved in counter terrorism and border protection. The measures included:

· Strengthening aviation security measures, and enhanced border protection by Customs, and Immigration, and the Police · Increased capacity to collect and evaluate foreign and domestic intelligence · Appointing Police liaison officers in London and Washington, and establishing an intelligence unit within Police dedicated to counter terrorism · Establishing a capability to respond to chemical or biological terrorist emergencies · Introduction and passage of the Terrorism Suppression Bill · Preparation of further legislation which will criminalise certain terrorist acts such as unlawful possession of plastic explosives and nuclear materials, and attacks on the food chain or biosecurity. This Bill will also serve to strengthen international information sharing between border agencies;

The campaign against terrorism, be it in Afghanistan or closer to home, will not be a short one. It will require resolve and resources over the long term. This government is committed to combating terrorism, and to working with other countries who like us value freedom and democracy. We owe it to all those who lost their lives last weekend in Bali to redouble these efforts. At the end of responses to this ministerial statement, I will seek leave to move without notice and without debate a motion that this House

· express its condemnation of the cold-blooded and indiscriminate terrorist bombing which took place in Bali on 12 October 2002; and

· extend its deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the families, friends, and communities of all those killed, missing, or injured in this brutal attack

· commit itself to continue to support work to counter the threat of international terrorism.

ENDS


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