“Practical and honest solutions are needed to the problems identified in the Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques, not knee-jerk reactions,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Beyond rhetorical leadership we need positive, practical problem solving.
“The Government must honour the victims and uphold the standards all New Zealanders expect from those who administer our laws by getting the public policy response right so this sort of tragedy never happens again.
“In the 20 months since 15 March 2019 the Government has responded with the opposite of good public policy, making premature, ineffective and divisive law changes that have left New Zealanders no safer.
“It is critical that actions and law changes that happen from here solve the shortcomings highlighted in the Royal Commission’s report, but that doesn’t mean accepting its recommendations in full.
“Just being seen to be doing something isn’t good enough.
“For example, the Government mustn’t just create new agencies without holding the existing ones to account.
“Today’s report is full of examples of government agencies not coming up to scratch, and in some cases not being even close, the Police in particular.
“They all had the powers and the resources needed to do their jobs, but the report says they hadn’t deployed them properly or were focussed on the wrong things.
“Arguably all the agencies that needed to exist already exist, they just needed to discharge their duties better.
“ACT doesn’t believe creating more government is the solution. Creating better government is the solution.
“That’s why the Government should also be brave enough to disregard recommendations, no matter how well intentioned.
“For instance, embarking on a regime of state-sponsored domestic social engineering under the banner of social cohesion is not something ACT supports.
“We showed the world what a cohesive country we are in the way we gathered collectively and mourned after 15 March.
“Our naturally evolving sense of tolerance and community is all the evidence the Government needs that broadening the role of state agencies in this way is completely unnecessary.
“Changing New Zealand was the terrorist’s objective. If we do that we dishonour the victims and let him win.
“New Zealand will never dishonour the victims of the Christchurch mosque attack by backing down from our fervent belief in our freedoms.
“Today’s report is comprehensive and thoughtful. The public policy responses to it need to be robust and enduring, but above all, practical.”