National | Law

Extremist, truly active in New Zealand

Has the government let us down by not taking white extremist threats seriously in New Zealand? Could Fridays attack been avoided if there was more of a focus on these types of threats? These are the questions being raised around parliament today after yesterdays announcement by Prime Minister Ardern on proposed changes to the countries gun laws.

The face of terror in New Zealand has finally shown its ugly face and its more closely located to us than we think. Allowing police to record hate crimes may offer an insight as to how much of these crimes happen in New Zealand and who is committing them.

There are fears that Brenton Tarrant will use his court date as a platform to promote his beliefs but it is hoped that the New Zealand judicial system will not allow that to happen.

More information about the changes in legislation around our gun laws is expected to be announced by the end of this week.

Justice Minister Andrew Little says, "The rise of white supremacism had become pretty apparent in the US, in Europe and other parts of the world and It was at that point that the SIS undertook its program of work to on how it had to gear up to deal with that issue. Ultimately what happens in a court is the judges prerogative and preserve so it will be what a judge decides allows to happen. But I think we need to alert to the possibility, the real possibility a trial in the future could be used as a platform to propound views as opposed to purely administering justice for the accused."

Little commented about the Security Intelligence Service who had only nine months ago started to look into extremist groups in New Zealand and their activities. He says, "They are not confined to act of extremism they cover across the board. Secondly as a result of the obvious rise in white supremacism and other far-right activity around the world. The SIS nine months ago commissioned its own review program actively to deal precisely with that issue."