News World Jacinda Ardern defends terror response

Jacinda Ardern defends terror response

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was praised for her empathetic handling of the Christchurch terror attack. Critics now fear not enough is being done to prevent further threats. Photo: Getty
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A key Muslim organisation is urging the New Zealand government to smarten up intelligence services in the wake of an online threat to attack mosques in Christchurch using carbombs.

A 27-year-old man was arrested and charged for the shocking pledge this week, less than a fortnight from the second anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque terror attacks.

Online, the man adopted a username similar to Australian terrorist Brenton Tarrant.

The man visited a notorious white supremacist forum and made the threat with an accompanying vow to livestream the attacks – just as Tarrant did.

Despite the horrors already inflicted on Christchurch’s Islamic population, the ease of finding it and the heightened sensitivities as the anniversary looms, the threat sat online for two days without police intervention.

It took a member of the public to report it before action was taken.

Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand national coordinator Aliya Danzeisen said her community was frustrated little had been done to fix holes in New Zealand’s security agencies.

“We have Royal Commission findings relating to their capabilities and their incapabilities,” Ms Danzeisen said.

The fact that the public is able to find it shows it was easy enough to find.

“The question is how much investment has been made to ensure that our security services are both efficient and effective.

“If they are incapable of doing something the public is doing, then what is occurring to either upscale the agencies or ensuring that people can do it?”

Heartbreakingly, Ms Danzeisen said the threat was “unsurprising”.

Our kids still gets hate. Our community gets hate. Our leaders get hate. It’s sustained,
– Aliya Danzeisen

“Our community has shown perseverance and our community will continue to do so.

“But it doesn’t mean these issues don’t affect us. It reverberates.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was “devastated” to learn of the threat and the un-shocked reaction of the local community.

Ms Ardern, eager not to be drawn on specifics relating to the case as it is before the courts, defended her government’s response to the threat.

However, she said she was looking at ways to address threats that “drop below a criminal threshold” which are hard for police to deal with.

“Sometimes people are under the assumption that our security agencies see absolutely everything at all times. They don’t. No security agency in the world does,” she said.

“Of course we have to be concerned are the threats regardless of the platform that are made very directly, very overtly towards members of any community.”

The 27-year-old man has been remanded in custody until March 19 – after next Saturday’s commemorative event for the 51 murdered people in the 2019 terrorist attack.