Published On: Sun, Mar 17th, 2019
Published in Category: District News

Prime Minister visits refugee centre following Christchurch mosque attack

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CHRISTCHURCH: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has comforted members of the Muslim community during a visit to a refugee centre in Christchurch following Friday’s mosque attacks.

A tearful Ardern said she brought messages of love, support and grief on behalf of all New Zealanders to the crowd gathered at Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resources Centre. “New Zealand is united in grief,” she said.

“This is not New Zealand. The only part of the incident we have seen over the past 24 to 36 hours that is New Zealand – is the support that you are seeing now.”

At the centre, where she was joined by ministers and other politicians, she was asked for assurance around security and arrangements for mosques. She was told there was “a fear in the community” from people who just wanted to safely celebrate culture and worship. This is not Christchurch, this is not the New Zealand we know, she was told.

She said there would be police protection and there would be extra ACC staff to provide help and support to families of the victims, which would cover funeral costs.

A number of survivors of Friday’s attack spoke about their experiences.

One man told the prime minister he was first on the scene and thought the attacker was a police man. A bullet scraped him.

Ardern was joined by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, National leader Simon Bridges, and Green Party leader James Shaw.


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