Saturday, September 4, 2021

Three things I'm scratching my head about this morning

A few questions to start the day.

■ Newshub’s 6pm news reported that the man who ran amok with a knife at a Countdown supermarket in Auckland was shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) before police shot him dead.

I could find no mention of this in other media coverage, apart from a Reuters story that cited a New Zealand Herald report. But I scanned the Herald’s stories this morning and saw no reference to it.

Neither was there any mention of the alleged shouts of “Allahu Akbar”, a phrase associated with Islamist terrorist acts, on the Stuff or RNZ websites. Yet Newshub referred to it several times and interviewed a witness who said she heard it.

This suggests three possibilities: 1. Newshub and/or its witness got it wrong; 2. Other witnesses either didn’t hear it or think to mention it to other media (though that seems unlikely, especially in view of the Herald report quoted by Reuters); 3. Other media outlets were told about it but chose not to mention it.

If it were the latter, why would the media engage in self-censorship? Presumably to avoid arousing hostility against the Muslim population.

That’s understandable up to a point, since New Zealand Muslims can no more be held responsible for the actions of the lone-wolf terrorist than New Zealanders can be blamed for the Christchurch mosque shootings, which were also the work of a solo perpetrator.

But it’s also misguided, because the duty of the media in such situations is to convey information. Yes, we know from the prime minister and the police commissioner that the Auckland terrorist was inspired by Isis, so it could be argued that the fact he shouted “Allahu Akbar” was just an irrelevant additional detail.

But in a major event like this, every bit of information is relevant because it helps the public build a fuller picture of what happened.  I hope I’m wrong in speculating that the media may have intentionally suppressed a significant detail. But since the culture wars permeated the news columns, we can no longer be confident that the media are concerned only with presenting the facts.

■ The Dominion Post’s Marty Sharpe reports this morning that human rights lawyer Tony Ellis has asked Attorney-General David Parker and Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann to take action over two senior judges who intervened in a Family Court case that didn’t involve them.

Readers of this blog will be aware of the background to this affair. Sir Wira Gardiner, then the acting boss of Oranga Tamariki, spoke to Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumaunu and Principal Family Court Judge Jackie Moran about Family Court judge Peter Callinicos’s conduct in a part-heard case involving a Maori child placed in the care of Pakeha foster parents.

Taumaunu and Moran subsequently took the matter up with Callinicos and were sharply rebuked by him for interfering in the case and thus breaching the principle of judicial independence.

Ellis has now complained to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner about the judges’ behaviour, but thinks Parker and Winkelmann should take up the case because it raises issues of constitutional importance.

Sharpe reports that Parker has backed away, saying it’s not a matter for the Attorney-General, and Winkelmann has declined to comment. Well, fancy that.

Sharpe, who has the terrier-like qualities required of a good investigative journalist (and thank God we still have some), also approached the Law Society. It didn’t want to get involved either. In fact the society’s president, Tiana Epati, said the society was not aware of the facts of the case, other than what had been reported, and wouldn’t speculate on whether it raised issues of public importance.

This seems extraordinary. If you entertained the fanciful notion that the Law Society had an interest in ensuring judicial probity and upholding public respect for the law, you were clearly deluded. The society’s so unconcerned that it hasn’t even bothered to acquaint itself with the case beyond what the rest of us have read in the paper.

Here’s my question, then: why doesn’t the Law Society get involved? Perhaps it doesn’t have to, strictly speaking, but what’s to stop it? Shouldn’t it be concerned with upholding confidence in legal and judicial processes and institutions? Even a statement of concern or support for an investigation would count for something. Or is the society worried that if it looks into things too closely, it might find itself in the embarrassing position of having to take a principled stand?

I frequently hear from good, honest people whose dealings with the law have led them to the bitter conclusion that the legal and judicial establishments are adept at closing ranks and going to ground whenever awkward questions start being asked about dubious conduct.  The Law Society’s complacent, look-the-other-way stance will cement the impression that the law is a club that protects its own.

■ It’s also reported this morning, in both the Dominion Post and the Wairarapa Times-Age, that a proposed water storage dam near Masterton has been canned after 20 years of planning and a reported bill of $12 million. Just like that.

Tim Lusk, the chairman of Wairarapa Water Ltd, the company promoting the scheme, said the 20-million cubic metre dam had been abandoned because environmental planning rules had changed rapidly, making the obtaining of consents from Greater Wellington Regional Council “extremely challenging”.

No elaboration was provided. We apparently just have to take his word for it that a scheme described in July 2019 as “eminently consentable” is suddenly too difficult.

So the public who paid for the preparatory work are expected to stoically shrug it off and walk away? Good luck with that.

There are a whole lot of questions to be asked here. For a start, it would be helpful if someone could explain glaring discrepancies in the reported figures. Piers Fuller, the Dom Post’s Wairarapa reporter, says $12 million has been spent. He’s been covering it for years, so he should know.

But the Times-Age refers only to $7 million from the Winston Peters Re-election Fund – sorry, the Provincial Growth Fund – of which it says $5 million has been spent.

Either way, we’re talking about serious money. Where did it go? And while Lusk and local MP Kieran McAnulty are engaging in acts of conspicuous public lamentation over the death of the scheme (“I’m gutted,” said McAnulty), it would be a lot more helpful if they explained exactly why it turned out to be a crock. The public is entitled to more than a glib statement that it’s suddenly too tough.

The regional council’s role in the debacle, in particular, needs explaining. It was a backer of the scheme, contributing $7 million to early investigations (it doesn’t sound a lot of money if you say it quickly, and after all there’s plenty more where it came from – i.e. ratepayers and taxpayers), but the same organisation, as the consenting authority, presumably imposed the environmental conditions that killed it off. How does that work?

The people of the Wairarapa deserve a more convincing explanation for what appears, on the face of it, to be a scandalously wasteful fiasco. But I’m not holding my breath.


David McLoughlin said...

One News didn't report the "allahu akbar" chant last night either, Karl, despite interviewing witnesses.

Re our Wairarapa water, I have been concerned ever since buying a house to move here in 2017 that Greater Wellington Regional Council is attempting to "return" the region's waterways to their "pristine pre-European state."

GWRC appears particularly opposed to any form of water storage that could capture even a small portion of the huge quantities of water that go to waste to sea in winter; and as a result we suffer stringent water restrictions in summer because our town water supplies come from the rivers, which run low in our glorious hot summers.

They want the rivers returned to their "natural" state and have been cancelling, not renewing and refusing rights to take water from the rivers. This has been increasingly harming vineyards and farms and as part of this campaign they seem to be intent on stopping the water flow through Henley Lake, which comes from two rivers and flows out the other end back into the Ruamahanga. Imagine, turning this lovely lake and park back into wasteland, despite its being a conservation area where birdlife thrives.

There have been some fundamental changes with GWRC that set it on a wrecking course several years ago. It's not just water. This monolith also controls our public transport. It proves daily it can't even run a bus properly. In 2017 it scrapped Wellington's modern trolley bus system on a whim, despite $100 million in public money (rates and taxes) having been spent since 2010 on new trolleys and a new overhead-wire network at a time we are supposed to be fighting "climate change".

I wish GWRC could be scrapped. Its water function would vanish under the Government's "three waters" plan but that doesn't mean our Wairarapa water would not remain under threat; the same idiots running water now will likely just transfer to the new water monopoly (and the councils would lose their water role, making residents even more vulnerable). But with only the joke that passes for the buses and trains left to ruin, there seems little role left for GWRC once water rights are taken from it. Fingers crossed.

Kimbo said...

I’ve heard it explained that the reason why, when an ISIS-franchise wannabe goes down in a ball of fire or hail of lead shouting “Allahu Akbar”, and that is subsequently removed from later media reports and politicians’ comments, it is NOT to avoid inflaming hostility against the Islamic community. Not that there is a history of that in the current West, anyway, in terms of “reprisals” anyway.. One Australian loser in Christchurch in 2019 aside.

Instead, the reason is to deny notoriety and the oxygen of publicity to the ISIS advertising and recruitment drive.

Like the media self-censorship of avoiding the mention of suicide as a cause of death, it is moot if the practice is preferable on balance. Nonetheless there does seem to be a reason with possibly valid reasons. Same way that Aussie’s nonsense ideological ramblings haven’t gained widespread circulation. Again though, interesting to consider in the freedom of access to pernicious material vs the wider public good including minimising the pathways to radicalisation.

oneblokesview said...

Glad to see you writing/posting more.
I really enjoy your writing

Odysseus said...

Yes Karl, at least one witness interviewed on 3 News last evening said the terrorist yelled "Allahu Akbar" as he carried out his attack. That fact is relevant to determining what motivated him. But not for many of our "journalists" it seems. The apparent censorship puts me in mind of the farcical Otago University "study" a few years ago which found that people who regularly followed the news were likely to be more concerned about Islamist terrorism than those who didn't. The study therefore recommended that there should be less reporting of terrorist events when they happened. In one week's time the world will be commemorating the dreadful, religiously inspired atrocities that occurred on 11 September 2001. But did they really happen? I know they did because I was in New York at the time and saw the first aircraft seconds before it struck the World Trade Centre. But for the New Zealand media?

Andy Espersen said...

Like you, Karl, I smell a rat re the weird case of the Auckland supermarket “terrorist” - but I smell it with my psychiatric nose. Being 86, and having spent almost 40 years working in mental hospitals, I claim to have known more mad people (i.e.psychotics) than almost all other living New Zealanders!! Fact is that if you behave like a lunatic killer (and witnesses described him as such) , and if you keep on so behaving until you die in a rain of police bullets - you almost certainly are a lunatic!! His crime made no sense – so most likely he had no sense!!

News reports emphasised that police knew him and his views – so they would have talked to him. Obviously they cottoned on to the fact that he could be dangerous – otherwise they would not have shadowed him. Under previous mental health legislation (before 1992), police not only were allowed, they were duty-bound to contain obviously psychotic, or even just suspected psychotic citizens and place such in a designated psychiatric hospital – we then had a nationwide chain of 10,000 psychiatric inpatient beds, all fully staffed with psychiatrists, psychologists and specialist psychiatric nurses (I was one such), social workers, occupational therapists, etc.. Here psychiatric specialists would examine the psychotic person and decide whether to commence treatment - or whether to set him/her free.

It appears to me that this person was simply psychotic. My suggestion is that we appoint an experienced psychiatrist to investigate his case, talk to his family and friends and look at his recent behaviour.

Kimbo said...

@ Andy Espersen

Look, sorry, you are clearly an intelligent guy with a wealth of valuable life experience but I am amazed someone can write something such I’d suggest what your “smell with your psychiatric nose” is nothing of the sort.

A cursory glance of why the cops were at close hand due to the constant 8-month surveillance order highlights the point that the law was being followed to the letter. Despite the tragic injury to 7 people, 3 seriously, the cops on balance seem to have done a magnificent job. The judiciary, Law Review and Parliament given the anomaly that has existed in our law that planning a terrorist act is not a crime as has been the case since the Urewera raid of 2007? Likely less so.

Of more alarm is your willingness to throw around like confetti inappropriate psychiatric terms such as, “psychotic”, “mad” and “lunatic”.and suggest a debrief of his family will yield something of value. In doing so you misunderstand the process of ideological radicalisation. You and I may not like the results, indeed good people abhor them. Nonetheless, while there are indeed the “mad” included among the “bad” and “sad” that includes Mr S and also our unwelcome Australian Christchurch mosque murderer of 2019, many indeed most have a coherent cognitive and volitional rationale for their actions.

In the case of Mr S, he follows a religion where, if you press the data of the sacred texts hard enough, you find his God is supremely just and omnipotent, which means, well, bad luck, no matter how faithful you are to his dictates, he may just decide on the day of judgement that he just doesn’t like off to eternal hell for you. But there is an EXCEPTION: the Muslim Scriptures do promise that Allah is obligated to accept those who die fighting Holy Jihad into his paradise. Hence, within the framework of his likely belief-system Mr S was acting logically, consistently, indeed arguably even sensibly.

Now I stress, I’m not asking you to agree with him. I sure don’t! And I also acknowledge that the vast majority of NZ Muslims do not share the cartoon theology and worldview by which this guy lived and ultimately and gladly died. Although, as per above, I’d suggest the “this has nothing to do with Islam” line is not entirety accurate. Mr S himself and ISIS sure considered him a good Muslim!

Is the same human nature that built the modern architectural masterpiece that is St Peter’s basilica in Rome in the early 16th Century. Paid for by indulgences, i.e., “get into heaven no matter what you have done” vouchers via the theological conception of a heavenly treasure of (transferable) merit as peddled by the likes of Dominican friar, Johan Tetzel. Whose efforts inspired Martin Luther to unwittingly kick-start the Reformation in response.

Now, you may disagree with the worldview of late medieval Catholics parting with their hard earned cash. Or participated in life-threatening crusades with the same motive. Again, I sure do! Nonetheless, while like Mr S they may have been seriously misguided and duped and had the odd psychiatric basket case in their midst, in the mainthey were not...mad, lunatic or psychotic. Instead, they shared the same fallible human nature as all of us.

Which brings me to the nub of my rebuttal of your mistaken, albeit well-intended words: groups like ISIS, and the seedy mob who also radicalised the Australian permanent resident of our prison system are skilful recruiters, knowing how to lure, trap and programme their vulnerable potential recruits. With the aid of the internet they use all the techniques like love-bombing and isolation that ideological and religious cult groups, particularly on campuses have used with lonely outsiders needing purpose crave. And now and then they strike it lucky, such are the odds and the number of possible worldwide pool of...losers available. And as THAT is the primary issue, not the therapeutic “he was mad!” catch-all explanation you have proffered.

At best your solution is at best a distraction. At worst a false turn.

Trev1 said...

Andy Espersen: psychotics? Maybe. Believers? Most certainly.

transpress nz said...

Not only did TV3 a.k.a. Newshub report the 'Allahu Akhbar' but an Indian looking young woman interviewed stated that the terrorist ignored her because of the colour of her skin and only attacked whites. Oh dear, that doesn't suit the Left Wingers.

Karl du Fresne said...

I spotted that too and the same thought occurred to me.

Doug Longmire said...

Well made points above.
I see that the Herald has given much more detailed coverage today, also yesterday Daily Mail had a much more extensive coverage than ANY NZ media.
Seems like our media were doing their usual self-censorship caution yesterday. Probably out of (unjustified) concern that the Muslim community might be offended. As it happens they weren't.

Graham Hill said...

"If you entertained the fanciful notion that the Law Society had an interest in ensuring judicial probity and upholding public respect for the law, you were clearly deluded. " The Law society (and its Privacy and Human Rights Committee) in my personal experience of a discrimination complaint, thus breach of rule- human rights are part of the rule of law (per Bingham.) and you comment equally applies. The succeeding paragraphs could not be expressed better and you sum up my own thinking. I think there are two reasons. First, NZLS and lawyers but not all lawyers, believe they are infallible and at the same time imperial experts; secondly. it is about institutional reputation.

None of this is new. It is all systemic. The proposed "hate Speech' proposal fail jurisprudentially but the lawyers in the HRC and MoJ seem oblivious.

Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France talks about lawyers (noting that Danton and Robespierre were hack provincial lawyers. As is said lawyers fed the guillotine, the gas chambers and the Gulag)) not living up to standard and reputation- the purveyors of village vexation-and legally unaware of principles. Raise a NZBORA point with lawyers and the eyes roll. Dickens' Bleak House is famous as are the Pickwick Papers. But Honore Balzac, in Ursule Mirouet excels Dickens.

Judge Peter Callinicos stands on firm jurisprudential ground. Thank you for your article.

Andy Espersen said...

Thank you Kimbo – Since you name me, I am bound to reply. I can find no similarities between the Auckland supermarket event and the Christchurch event. One was planned over many months by a cynically intelligent, sane person and executed with deadly precision - the other was the most bungled, ineffective terrorist attack I’ve ever heard of - with only one fatality, namely the terrorist himself!!

You have obviously got a thing about the concept of insanity as a legal defence. May I remind you that every civilised nation in the world has that in their statute books. Crimes committed while insane very often happen because of the insane person’s false beliefs. These are most often false beliefs about other individuals. It is, however, quite on the cards that races as such may be the target (look up Lionel Terry in Dunedin in 1905) - or you may get a bee in your bonnet about some religion or whatever. Insanity appears in a myriad of ways; no two insane individuals are the same – but the result is always that the stage, the arena, where it plays out its tragic process is one uncontrolled, confused, dysfunctional brain.

The words lunatic, mad, psychotic offend you. Sorry Kimbo – but these are legitimate, meaningful, psychiatric terms - albeit apparently non-p/c to you. Yes, I could have studiously attempted not to use those terms. But to be honest, I am tired of not calling a spade a spade - just to humour people like you, our woke-ists and your childish preoccupations and sensitivities.

Following this supermarket event we now have one fatality. Would it not have been good if we could have prevented his death?? If he could have been contained by police simply because of his obviously deranged and dangerous mental state, this event simply could not have happened. Would that not also have been the most charitable, kindly way to deal with a terribly disturbed fellow human being, down with a cruel, incurable illness??

Alex M said...

Hi Karl

The Prime Minister's "fustration" at the lack of power, under the terrorism act, to deport this person is a red herring.
The power to deport under the current immigration act is more than enough. The fact that he was convicted of a jailable crime is the obvious criterion that has been met.
Like any red herring, it was put there by someone and it was put there for a reason.

Phil said...

I agree this person was clearly unstable. Per the media, a psychological report was never done which seems very bizarre. His family have already mentioned his poor mental state.

oneblokesview said...

Dear Unknown.

Just some perspective.
In NZ its called due process.
Also known as a bloody slow process.
The Herald can reveal immigration officials had sought to revoke his refugee status in 2018, but he appealed and a final decision had yet to be made on whether he could be deported.
I presume you refer to section 163 of the act
Deportation liability of persons threatening security
Where the Minister certifies that a person constitutes a threat or risk to security, the Governor-General may, by Order in Council, order the deportation from New Zealand of that person.

So I can understand the appeal would be about proving a threat or risk.

Kimbo said...

@ Andy Espersen

You now add presumption to your previously muddled analysis.

I am not “offended” by your use of the terms “mad”, “lunatic” and “psychotic”, and it is irrelevant whether they are “PC” or not. Instead, I just don’t think they apply in this case. Suggest you take some time to go through the details of our latest terrorist import especially since court suppression of his details have now been lifted and many of the details are now freely available.

Interestingly, while there is no doubt he was a troubled person, his refugee status was in the process of being revoked as he had given untrue details. Perhaps related to false statements he made concerning PTSD-like symptoms at the hands of the Sri Lankan Government. Or maybe just had a rough upbringing like lots of people do. Either way, despite being a troubled individual, he received extensive psychiatric assessment over the last TEN years...and was not mad, lunatic or psychotic. And I note that you’ve ignored that as long as he was appealing the revoking of his refugee-status, he could NOT be deported. So red herring of why he was still in the country dealt with.

And key point, this was not an unexpected event...hence he was constantly under surveillance for the last 8 months and was well known as high as the PM’s office. When he acted it came as no surprise, hence the cops thankfully were on hand to send him to his chosen destiny...doing EXACTLY what he said in court what he would do.

Also your assessment based on the outcome of his actions that he is unlike the Australian is facile. They are, I would suggest, peas in a pod. Both sad and bad individuals no doubt with set-backs in their life that affected, but ultimately did not determine their views and behaviour. The only real difference is that one was more patient, managed to fly under the radar during the radicalisation recruitment process, and so was able to plan and execute his ideologically-inspired actions and 51 died.

In contrast, if the effort on Friday was an audition for Terrorists Got Talent, it would be 4 immediate “no’s” from the judges, and a send off from Simon Cowell that that was the most abysmally planned and executed effort since Abdul the wannabe jihadist blew himself up smoking while filling the petrol into the bottles making Molotov cocktails.

Karl du Fresne said...

To Johnston,
Thanks for submitting your comment, but I don't concern myself with anything on Twitter.

Alex M said...

I assumed that the judge who jailed him would be sufficiently competent to assess his risk to society. Presumably that is why the Immigration act provides this criterion as reason to deport.

Kimbo said...

@ Andy Espersen

Oh, yes, and the comparison with Lionel Terry in 1905 is facile too.

Terry was undoubtedly insane, but nonetheless he had imbibed the all-pervasive anti-Chinese immigration “Yellow Peril” rhetoric of the New Zealand of the time. So common was it that the high Apostle of the Creed was the then-Premiere, RJ Seddon.

In contrast, Mr S was deliberately recruited by an organisation that uses the same odds as Nigerian fraudsters - most attempts won’t pay off, but enough do to make the internet traffic effort worthwhile.

And yes, you are right that as Lionel Terry targeted one race (an Asian), Mr S seems to have targeted according to eye witnesses only Europeans. But if so, his jihadist logical was reasonable, consistent indeed impeccable. As per my explanation above of the ISIS recruitment drive, the key requirement for Mr S to get his 72 virgins was to die fighting...non-Muslim infidels. And basic NZ demographics mean that you are more likely to be a non-Muslim if you are European. About the only thing Mr Botched ISIS terrorist of the month got right, whenever they want to do a debrief for future inductees on “what here went wrong here and how not to do it”.

Again, no one is asking you to agree that the religio-ideological construct outlined above is in any way desirable. Nonetheless as objectionable as the beliefs and behaviour are, trying to baptise them away with jargon like “mad”, “lunatic” and “psychotic”, and throwing 1960s therapeutic solutions like psychiatric hospitals (which likely do still have a place in our criminal/mental justice system, btw) at it ignores the point: sometimes this is what non-insane people, lots of ‘em, think and really do.

David McLoughlin said...

Not only did TV3 a.k.a. Newshub report the 'Allahu Akhbar' but an Indian looking young woman interviewed stated that the terrorist ignored her because of the colour of her skin and only attacked whites

I am grateful to TV3 for running this, because I want to know the motivation behind Samsudeen's extremism.

With Tarrant, there was a total media blackout in NZ, with all media signing up to promise not to publish anything he might say; and the chief censor making it an offence to read his "manifesto". I was forced to read overseas media to get a full account of what drove him to such extremism. I learnt he is an admirer of Anders Beivik.

Well, I can legally read Breivik's "manifesto," but not Tarrant's. I have a copy of Mein Kampf on one of my bookshelves. It's one of the must turgid, most unread-rants ever written but it led to the deaths of tends of millions of people.

It concerns me how what we are allowed to read, know and believe is becoming increasingly limited in many ways; with journalists too often cheering it on, if not leading the charge.

Trev1 said...

Kimbo: very well said.

David McLoughlin said...

"Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen is no more representative of Sri Lankans, Muslims or refugees than Brenton Harrison Tarrant is representative of Australians, Christians or white men. Both are murderous fanatical extremists who acted alone."

Well, that is my honestly held opinion based on the evidence. But what would happen if I voiced it publicly?

Kimbo said...

@ Andy Espersen

And a good summary:

Our latest imported terrorist may have been sad and bad, and deeply troubled and damaged psychologically and emotionally. As such he was perfect cannon-fodder in the ISIS recruitment drive. And no doubt a sucker for their simple schtick. Has been working for cultists for years, same dynamics, same human foibles.

Nonetheless, as per the Mental Health Foundation the fact he did undoubtedly have mental issues is NOT the same as his religio-ideological motivations. They may have coalesced in the same person and his mental state may have made him susceptible to a simplistic ideological pitch promising eternal life insurance in exchange for a simple and brief act of violence.

But bottom line: despite extensive psychological assessment he was not mad, lunatic or psychotic. Instead, he was actually acting , in his own shambling incompetent way, according to a logical pre-thought plan. So while, if you can excuse the possible lack o& taste in the reality TV analogy, the Australian scored high fo both planning and execution, at this latest effort was not devoid of an albeit relatively unambitious plan.

Perhaps, because you have the biggest hammer in town, Andy - and I salute your undoubted expertise in the matter of mental health- you are making the mistake that those with the biggest hammer in town sometimes do of treating every problem as a nail.

Odysseus said...

The government's failure to deport the terrorist is inexplicable. The UN Refugee Convention explicitly provides for this:

"1. No Contracting State shall expel or return (" refouler ") a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the
frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion,
nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
2. The benefit of the present provision may not, however, be claimed by a refugee whom there are
reasonable grounds for regarding as a danger to the security of the country in which he is, or who,
having been convicted by a final judgement of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the
community of that country.""

2 It was reported yesterday that the terrorist's family believe he was radicalised by neighbours from Iraq and Syria. Was he but the tip of an iceberg of ISIS sympathisers in this country? Were they refugees also? Just how thorough is our vetting process? Should we continue to rely on the UN to such a large extent in filling our refugee quota?

3 There are so many more questions which arise from this incident, including around the oversight of student visas and the awarding of refugee status to claimants in New Zealand. There needs to be a high level, independent inquiry as a matter of urgency.

Andy Espersen said...

NZ Herald this morning quotes former counter-terrorism advisor, Paul Buchanan, as stating, “It [is] unclear why the man could not have been detained for an assessment using the Mental Health Act”.

To me that is not at all unclear. I can explain that with the greatest of ease.

Andy Espersen said...

Will Karl, I wonder, publish this reader’s letter I posted to NZ Herald this morning. It is very relevant to the issue on hand.

“Ha – just how silly can we be? Here we have had heavily armed police shadowing him for years – journalists shadowing the police with bated breath, hoping for the story of their life.

Shadowing whom?? A very ordinary little crackpot who in the old days (before 1992) would almost certainly have lived in an open ward in a mental hospital, willingly (almost always) accepting his prescribed medication – peacefully and happily mulling over his pet hates and grudges until the end of his days".

It is not the Terrorism Act that needs looking at – it is the 1992 Mental Health Act. And we should all look at ourselves and seriously question our ingrained, false ideas about our charitable mental hospital system – which our mentally ill population benefited from for 150 years”.

Eamon Sloan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenn said...
This article includes the Allahu Akbar shout. Reuters also did but I can't find it today. Also, the knife was "pulled out from within his jacket" according to a female witness.

If the terrorist was radicalized by his neighbours, then maybe there is a lot more going on in NZ than we have any idea of.

Brendan McNeill said...


With respect to the Muslim Jihadist attack in Auckland there are several cultural myths we have adopted which mitigate against our understanding what has happened.


1) All cultures are equal (in values, social and political outcomes)

2) All religions are the same (and irrelevant to our lives)

3) All humans are basically good.

4) We are on a progressive arc of progress that bends towards a better future.

5) All we need is the right social policy settings and utopia awaits.

Consequently it is impossible for the secular materialist mind to understand the pull of religion on the human heart and mind. The idea that someone might believe that slaughtering the infidel was their religious duty, and that paradise awaits Muslims who are killed executing holy jihad is an absurdity to them. Therefore there is no religious motivation to the 'lone wolf's' actions.

However, these are comforting but badly misguided myths that have deadly consequences.

Therefore, I'd like to recommend this interview with Australian academic, Islamic scholar and theologian Dr Mark Durie who addresses these questions in this broad ranging interview:

Odysseus said...

Jacinda's old boss, Tony Blair, has this to say about Islamism in an article published in the Daily Telegraph today:

"The security threat posed by radical Islam is of the "first order" and could lead to bio-terror attacks, Tony Blair has warned.

The former prime minister called on leaders from around the world - including China and Russia - to develop a common strategy to counter the menace to their societies.

"In my view, Islamism, both the ideology and the violence, is a first order security threat; and, unchecked, it will come to us, even if centred far from us, as 9/11 demonstrated," he said. "This is a global challenge and one that is getting worse."

Will Ardern heed the call for a "common strategy to counter the menace"?

Graham Hill said...

I should like to add this to my earlier post.

Edmund Burke sums it all  up:

“Judge, Sir, of my surprise, when I found that a very great proportion of the Assembly (a majority, I believe, of the members who attended) was composed of practitioners in the law. It was composed, not of distinguished magistrates, who had given pledges to their country of their science, prudence, and integrity; not of leading advocates, the glory of the bar ; not of renowned professors in universities;—but for the far greater part, as It must in such a number, of the inferior, unlearned, mechanical, merely instrumental members of the profession. There were distinguished exceptions; but the general composition was of obscure provincial advocates, of stewards of petty local jurisdictions, country attorneys, notarys, and the whole train of the ministers of municipal litigation, the fomenters and conductors of the petty war of village vexation. From the moment I read the list, I saw distinctly, and very nearly as it has happened, all that was to follow.”

Excerpt From: Edmund Burke. “Reflections On The French Revolution.”

Noting that Danton and Robespierre were provincial lawyers.

hughvane said...

In head scratch #2 of your blog, you made reference to the case involving a young Maori girl in the care of pakeha foster parents. Your readers and commenters, including myself, will be pleased to read this:

Karl du Fresne said...

Yes, thanks for drawing attention to the judge's decision, hughvane. I'm away from home and unable to update my blog.

hughvane said...

And now, goodness me, whoda thunked:

It would be illuminating to learn who is providing the prompt and cue cards for this spurious and time-wasting exercise; as it would be to learn the circumstances of the birth mother that caused authorities to remove the girl from her mother's care in the first place. No smoke without fire, etc, etc.