New Zealand unveils measures to improve security

Wellington, Aug. 17, 2020 (Xinhua) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attends a press conference held in the parliament building Beehive in Wellington, New Zealand, on Aug. 17, 2020. Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Monday that the general election will be held on Oct. 17, four weeks after Sept. 19 when the poll was originally scheduled for. (Xinhua/Guo Lei/IANS)

Wellington, Dec 8 (IANS) The New Zealand government on Tuesday announced a series of initiatives in its response to the recommendations to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attack on two Christchurch mosques in 2019.

These actions will “promote inclusion for all New Zealanders while recognizing and responding to the value diversity brings to our communities”, Xinhua news agency quoted a joint statement as saying.

The government will support diverse communities by creating a Ministry for Ethnic Communities, establishing an Ethnic Communities Graduate Program, establishing a National Center of Excellence to focus on diversity, social cohesion, and preventing and countering violent extremism, and trialing support for young children to improve their self-regulation, resilience, and social skills, it said.

The government will tackle harmful behaviour and discrimination by establishing the New Zealand Police program to respond to hate crime and hate incidents, strengthening the capacity of the Human Rights Commission, implementing an early intervention to prevent terrorism and violent extremism through the Multi-Agency Coordination and Intervention Program, among other initiatives, it said.

“Some groups within our communities are not able to access the same opportunities as others, and experience discrimination, racism and risks to their safety. This government is committed to ensuring all people feel safe, that they belong, are valued and can contribute,” Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

The government will also establish a Ministry for Ethnic Communities to replace the Office for Ethnic Communities to better support and respond to the needs of the diverse communities, the statement said.

“With these actions, we are laying the foundations for a better future, and a fairer more equitable New Zealand,” Radhakrishnan said.

Meanwhile, the Terrorism Suppression Act will be amended to strengthen Counter-Terrorism legislation.

“We will work with community and interest groups across New Zealand as we implement the Royal Commission. We all have a role to play in ensuring an event like March 15 never happens again,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.


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