Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Dunne Speaks: Nothing Much Has Changed Since March 15

The first anniversary this coming weekend of the brutal, tragic Christchurch mosque slayings will be a difficult and bitterly sad occasion for so many people – the families of the victims, obviously, but also the recovery and medical teams involved, the Police and the other community leaders who played their part on that fateful day. For most of us, it is still hard to imagine events like that taking place in New Zealand, even though they were now nearly a year ago.
 

In the immediate aftermath, the country seemed to come together as one, with the near universal vow that something like that should never be allowed to happen here again. Much was said at the time about how we needed to unite as never before to make that a reality, and there seemed to be a genuine spirit about doing so.

Now, as we mark that first anniversary, it is worth looking at the progress made, and how we as a society may have changed to prevent a repetition of such awful events in the future. Sadly, despite the bold proclamations of the time, the resulting scorecard has been somewhat mixed.

The most dramatic commitment made was to clean up New Zealand’s cumbersome and lax firearms laws, to prevent dangerous weapons falling into the hands of cold-blooded terrorists like the Christchurch attacker ever again. A ban on semi-automatic weapons – the easiest bit of the jigsaw – was quickly achieved, but the rest of the package has struggled somewhat. The weapons buyback scheme appears to have had mixed results – a significant number of weapons have been handed in, but the suspicion remains that a large of numbers of weapons and components are still out there, unaccounted for. The next phase, the firearms register, has gone nowhere. Proposals to establish the register have stalled and are unlikely to be passed through Parliament any time soon, if at all. So, at best, the promised bold firearms policy gets a bare pass mark, and is unlikely to deter a determined terrorist from a similar attack in the future.

Next was the promise of a comprehensive Royal Commission of Inquiry to examine all aspects of the tragedy, including the performance of the security and intelligence services and whether they were paying sufficient attention to the presence and activities of extremist right-wing groups. Because of the perceived urgency, the Royal Commission was told to report back its findings by the end of last year. However, not surprisingly, the enormity of the task has proved impossible to achieve according to the original timeframe and the deadline for its report has now been extended to April 2020. To use NCEA parlance, the Royal Commission gets a “Not Achieved” at this point.

Meantime, disturbing claims have emerged from the Islamic Women’s Council about how various concerns of rising Islamophobia and the risks it posed they had been raising with the State Services Commission and other official agencies have been ignored. This, and the lack of apparent change in the way the intelligence services are now going about their business, raises important questions about official attitudes before and after the attacks. This in turn puts further pressure on the Royal Commission.

Another element that was focused on immediately after the attacks was the role of online communications and websites. While the Christchurch Call has made some progress on the international front in drawing attention to the concern and seeking the engagement of the likes of Google and Facebook to better moderate the content on their platforms, there still remain too many instances where objectionable online material has been able to be streamed in exactly the same way as before. So, while the Christchurch Call probably rates at least a B+ for its intent, the unsatisfactory practical consequences rate at around a D, leaving the overall rating on this score at about C to C+.

On top of this, and despite the pious good intent of the time, it is now clear that not a lot has changed in terms of improving public tolerance and respect for diversity over the last year. This week alone there have been reports of neo-Nazi groups becoming more active, and there was the incident of alleged homophobic conduct by a police officer in the wake of Wellington’s Pride Parade. Last week, there was the Court case involving the person who had made fresh threats against the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch. Over the course of the last year there have been a number of incidents reported across the country of racial slurs being cast, or discrimination made against people on ethnic grounds. And there has even been the case of a senior Cabinet Minister making racist and inflammatory comments on a number of occasions and suffering no sanction for his remarks.

Our society still seems to be as challenged as it ever was in terms of accepting the need for tolerance and diversity, with the brief coming together after Christchurch being clearly no more than a mere blip.
So, it will be another D on that account.

Overall, then as we reflect upon last year’s horrific attacks, the scoresheet is not especially promising, barely a pass mark and probably a fail on the commitments made a year ago. As we recall the events of March 15 2019, we should also realise that collectively we have so far failed the memory of all those who were killed, wounded and otherwise scarred for life. For the second anniversary in 2021 to prove worthy and pay true tribute to them, we all need to improve our response considerably. More action, less pontification would be a good starting point.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, lest he be carried away in the slavering jaws of Jack Tame…. but this was mere incompetence, not malice. At the same time the President of the United States was (a) falsely accusing one of his media critics of murder, and (b) threatening to shut down Twitter for attaching a warning label to Trump’s attempt at poisoning the electoral process by falsely claiming that postal voting has led to extensive voter fraud... More>>


 


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>

ALSO:

National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>

ALSO:

Lockdown Rules: Timeline For Moving To Level 1 Needed

The BusinessNZ Network is calling for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to Covid level 1. The network is concerned about large numbers of businesses that are at risk of closure if restrictions continue at the current ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>

ALSO:


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19 Response: Law Setting Up Legal Framework For Covid-19 Alert Level 2 Passes


The law establishing a legal framework for the response to Covid-19 has passed its final reading and will become law in time for the move to Alert Level 2 tonight.
This is a bespoke Act designed specifically to stop the spread of COVID-19... More>>

ALSO:


Trans-Tasman Bubble: PMs Jacinda And Morrison Announce Plans

Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP have announced... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>

ALSO:

The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>

ALSO:

Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>

ALSO:


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels