Auckland, March 20, 2019
After the terrible events of Friday (March 15, 2019), I want to keep you up to date with the work of the government to respond to the tragedy and provide ongoing support to our Muslim community.
It is clear now that the attacks on two Mosques were acts of terrorism, based on a hateful ideology, and driven by extreme bigotry against the Muslim community.
As our Prime Minister (Jacinda Ardern) has said, there is simply no place for this in our country. We reject utterly not just the acts that were carried out on Friday, but the fundamental intolerance and hate that underlay them.
I spent Saturday in Christchurch with a cross-party team led by the Prime Minister.
The grief of the community is immense and the healing will take a long time.
The Prime Minister provided incredible leadership to the affected families and communities; listening and speaking with compassion, honesty, and sheer humanity.
I also saw how, in a very New Zealand way, the Christchurch community has rallied around strongly to provide support and reassurance to the families who are directly impacted.
Yesterday, I spent time on the ground in Mt Roskill attending Mosques, Schools, and visiting Muslim community groups.
Everyone told me that they are deeply moved by the way that New Zealanders from every walk of life have come in around the community to provide support.
All of the small things that people are doing such as visiting mosques with flowers, sending and sharing caring messages, chalking words of support, and other such acts are valued by the community and really do help in affirming the inclusive message of our Prime Minister that “they are us.”
Attacks to be probed
The Prime Minister has now also announced that the government will be moving ahead with an Inquiry into the attacks, and that our firearms laws will be changed.
Alongside this we are all committed to ensuring that the underlying intolerance and prejudice that exist in parts of our society are resisted and stamped out.
In the wake of this terrible event, New Zealand has come together around our Muslim community in support and solidarity.
That work must continue in the coming days, weeks, and months, and I encourage you to continue showing your aroha to our Muslim brothers and sisters at this time.
Michael Wood is elected Member of Parliament from Mount Roskill and Parliamentary Undersecretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities.