New Zealand Is Re-Examining Antiterrorism Laws After Stabbing


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New Zealand Is Re-Examining Antiterrorism Laws After Stabbing

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand said a man who wounded seven people in a West Auckland supermarket had been under government surveillance for months before the attack, and that officials had tried “every legal avenue” to protect people from him.

In mid-July, the individual was released into the community and the surveillance began immediately. In late July, I was given a written update on the case. On the night of August, I met with officials and discussed further options to try and reduce the risk that this person posed to the community. In late August, officials, including the commissioner of police, raised the possibility of expediting the amendments to the counterterrorism legislation. Within 48 hours of these discussions, the minister of justice contacted the chair of the select committee with the intention of speeding that law change up. That was yesterday, the same day the attack happened. As you can see, agencies used every tool available to them to protect innocent people from this individual. Every legal avenue was tried. But we owe it to everyone to have other people look at the facts of this case, too. To analyze them, to see what was done and what more could have possibly been done. The I.P.C.A. and the coroner will be an important part of this work. But we must also look forward as we have always done. We must be willing to make the changes that we know may not necessarily have changed history, but could change the future.

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