NEW ZEALAND PRIME Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for a global fight against racism and right-wing ideology following last week’s terror attack.
Fifty people were killed and dozens more injured in the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
Victims’ funerals have now begun, with a father and son among the first people to be laid to rest.
Australian-born Brenton Tarrant (28) filmed himself carrying out the horrific attack. The self-professed white supremacist made a white power symbol when in court.
A “manifesto” he released before the mass shooting is filled with racist vitriol, detailing two years of planning for the massacre.
In an interview with BBC News, Ardern spoke about the rise of right-wing nationalism and extremism. She said there is a responsibility “to weed it out where it exists and make sure that we never create an environment where it can flourish”.
I would make that a global call. What New Zealand experienced here was violence brought against us by someone who grew up and learned their ideology somewhere else.
“If we want to make sure globally that we are a safe and tolerant and inclusive world, we cannot think about this in terms of boundaries.”
Ardern defended New Zealand’s record on accepting refugees, saying: “We are a welcoming country.
I utterly reject the idea that in any way in trying to ensure that we have a system that looks after those who choose to call New Zealand home, that we have perpetuated an environment where this kind of ideology can exist.
Over the weekend, a far-right Australia senator drew international condemnation for blaming the attack on immigration.
Ardern was among those to label Fraser Anning’s comments a “disgrace”, and the Australian government plans to censure him.
A cross-party motion condemns him for “inflammatory and divisive comments seeking to attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion”.
Anning punched a teenage boy who egged him over the remarks.
In the BBC interview, Ardern also said she stands over her call to not refer to the suspect by his name, stating: “One of his goals … was that he sought notoriety and we will absolutely deny him that.”
Ardern has promised to change New Zeland’s gun laws as a result of the attack.