Sunday, 24 March 2019

ACT welcomes National’s support for Royal Commission

ACT Leader David Seymour has welcomed the National Party’s support for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into our intelligence services.

On Tuesday in Parliament, Mr Seymour said the issues arising from the terrorist attacks in Christchurch required nothing less than a Royal Commission, reporting to the Governor-General, at arm’s length from Government.

“The first and most important task of any government is to protect its citizens from violence,” says Mr Seymour.

“The worshippers killed in Christchurch should have been safe. This was their home.

“These terrorist attacks are a clear reflection that our intelligence services did not work to protect New Zealanders in the way they should have.

“The Government will be tempted to rush to put measures in place, but New Zealanders deserve a comprehensive account of how these attacks were allowed to take place and how similar violence can be prevented from ever happening in this country again.

“Royal Commissions of Inquiry were appointed in relation to the Pike River tragedy and the Canterbury earthquakes and the scale of this tragedy demands no lesser response.

A Royal Commission is the highest form of public inquiry reserved for the most serious matters of public importance. It has substantial investigative powers and is completely independent of the Executive.

“The Terms of Reference of a Royal Commission should consider why these individuals were not detected by authorities, whether the intelligence services are adequately resourced, and whether the New Zealand Intelligence and Security Act, passed just a couple of years ago, is fit for purpose.

“While the Prime Minister will be under significant pressure to act swiftly and decisively in relation to the Christchurch terrorist attacks, any response should be considered and grounded in evidence.”