Traffic lights down at Dunedin intersection

Source: New Zealand Police

Traffic lights are down at the intersection of Andersons Bay Road and Caversham Valley Road, following a crash earlier this morning.

A car crashed into a traffic light around 4:05am.

The driver was uninjured but the lights are expected to be out for several hours.

Traffic management will be in place to direct motorists but people should expect delays.

We thank motorists in advance for their patience.

ENDS

Issued by the Police Media Centre.  

MIL OSI

Kia Kaha Christchurch

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

We show care, acceptance and cultural respect to all tenants from a diverse range of nationalities and religions. We welcome people and provide them a warm, safe and dry place to call home.

We hold aroha in our hearts for the people who have been killed and injured and the family and friends they have left behind.

Support services

If you or anyone you know needs support or more information the services below may be helpful to you.

Work and Income

If you’ve been affected by the Christchurch tragedy, or need to travel there because of it, The Ministry of Social Development may be able to help – even if you’re not on a benefit.

View their website or you can also call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997.

ACC

Whether you’ve been injured in the Christchurch attacks or have lost a loved one, ACC are here to help. They will work with you and your family to make sure you get the help you need – whether you live in New Zealand or overseas. View their website.

Immigration NZ

For information about Visa’s for the families of victims. View their website.

National Telehealth Service

1737 – A free 24/7 phone and text service available to anyone feeling anxious, overwhelmed or just needing to have a chat. View their website.

Christchurch City Council

The latest news, updates and information on planned events happening in Christchurch. View their website.

Your Housing New Zealand home

If you have any questions about your tenancy with Housing New Zealand, you can contact our Customer Services Centre on 0800 801 601. The line is open 8am-6pm Monday to Friday or 24/7 for urgent calls.

MIL OSI

PM Statement on Christchurch mosques terror attack – 21 March

Source: New Zealand Government

Welcome everyone.

On 15 March the nation witnessed a terrorist attack that demonstrated the weakness of New Zealand’s gun laws.

New Zealand’s regulation of arms primarily dates back to 1983. Sadly since that time the most substantive changes to our laws came following the Aramoana shootings.

Those changes however did not go far enough. Successive attempts have been made and failed to change our laws since then.

Those attempts were in 1999, 2005, 2012, and more recently through a select committee inquiry in early 2017. And still none of the changes that have been made in the past dealt with one of the most glaring issues we have that sets New Zealand apart from many other nations. The availability of military style semi-automatic weapons.

The attacker on 15 March took a significant number of lives using primarily two guns. They were assault rifles and they were purchased legally on an A-Category gun licence. The standard license held by gun owners in New Zealand.

The capacity of these assault rifles was then enhanced using 30–plus-round magazines, essentially turning them into military style semi-automatic weapons. While the modification of these guns was illegal, it was done easily through a simple online purchase. The guns used in this terrorist attack had important distinguishing features. First, their capacity and also their delivery. They had the power to shoot continuously but they also had large capacity magazines.

I absolutely believe there will be a common view amongst New Zealanders, those who use guns for legitimate purposes, and those who have never touched one that he time for the mass and easy availability of these weapons must end. And today they will.

Today I’m announcing that New Zealand will ban all military style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military style semi-automatic weapon. We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semi-automatic, automatic, or close to automatic gunfire. In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country.

These changes will require legislation. That legislation has now been drafted and will be introduced under urgency. A shortened select committee process will apply. So I encourage all those who wish to submit to start now. My expectation is that the law will be in place by the end of the next two-week sitting session, which is by the 11th of April.

As a Government, however, we did not wish to allow a situation where irresponsible dealers continue to sell weapons that will be banned within a few weeks. That is why we have taken an interim measure. As at 3:00 pm today an order in council took effect. These changes to our regulations will ensure virtually all of the weapons I have announced has been banned will be categorized as weapons that require an E-Class endorsement.

The effect of this will mean that no one will be able to buy these weapons without a permit to procure from the police. I can assure people that there is no point in applying for such a permit. This is an interim measure to ensure the trade of these weapons ceases from 3 p.m. today.

As a Government we acknowledge that there will be gun owners who have legitimately purchased weapons we have now moved to ban. Some, for instance, will use them for large scale culling such as DOC. We will, as a Cabinet, work through legalised exemptions for these purposes but they will be tightly regulated. For others, these guns will now come out of circulation.

I acknowledge and thank those retailers who have voluntarily ceased to sell military style semi-automatic and assault rifles. You will have seen the collective issues we face as a country and reacted swiftly and I thank you for that. For other dealers, sales should essentially now cease. My expectation is that these weapons will be returned to your suppliers and never enter into the New Zealand market again.

For current owners of the weapons we have moved to ban, I acknowledge that many of you will have acted within the law. In recognition of that and to incentivise their return, we will be establishing a buy-back scheme. The details of the scheme are being developed in parallel to the drafting of the legislation to enforce the ban.

In the meantime we are asking all current holders of military style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles to visit www.police.govt.nz. There they will find details of the weapons included in the ban, and the next 48 hours a form will be available on the site that we are asking these gun owners to complete, identifying what banned guns they hold. The police will then arrange for these weapons to be handed over and eventually destroyed. Details of the weapons handed back by owners that are covered by the ban will also be taken to ensure that fair and reasonable compensation is paid once the buy-back is in place.

If owners are unable to complete the online form, they are able to contact the police on the phone to arrange the handover of these now banned guns. I do want to emphasise: to manage the flow of information to the police, online is the best way to arrange the return of your weapons. Do not arrive at the police station unannounced with these weapons in your possession.

As the legislation has developed, we will determine the time available for the return of military style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles and the duration of the buyback scheme. I can assure people that there will be time for the returns to be made and that they will not be criminalised overnight. After a reasonable period for returns those who continue to possess these guns will be in contravention of the law.

Currently the penalties for this range from fines of up to $4,000 and or three years in prison. The draft legislation will look to increase these penalties. I want to acknowledge that the weapons available in New Zealand are only part of the problem and loopholes with our current law continue to exist.

On Monday, Cabinet will receive and consider further amendments to our gun laws. These proposals will, however, go through a more fulsome process. But be assured, this is just the beginning of the work we need to do.

Finally, I want to repeat a message I have consistently shared since announcing our laws would change. We do have guns in New Zealand that are used for legitimate purposes by responsible owners every single day and that includes our rural community They manage pests. They use for animal welfare and also for recreation. I’ve been steadfast in my belief that the vast majority of these owners will support what we are doing here today because it’s about all of us. It’s in the national interest and it’s about safety. I will work hard to retain that support as we work on the remaining tranches of reform that we must make to prevent an act of terror happening in our country ever again. I’ll now hand over to the Minister of Police.

MINISTER OF POLICE HON STUART NASH: Thank you Prime Minister. Two hours ago, I was amongst a group of Ministers who signed off on the order which tightens the law on the sale of assault rifles. It is an interim step until legislation can be introduced and passed to ban all military style semi-automatics. These measures will make a real difference to enable New Zealand to become a safer place.

As the Prime Minister has already said, the time to act is now. The order which is now in effect will discourage the potential stockpiling of these assault rifles and encourage people to continue to surrender their firearms. Dozens of farm-owners have come forward so far and I expect more will do so. Police are gearing up to enable these weapons to be taken out of circulation. They’ll be supported by the New Zealand Defence Force to enable safe storage, transport, and destruction of assault rifles and MSSAs. The Prime Minister has also alluded to – police are definitely encouraging firearms owners to go to the police website and use the online form to arrange to hand over the MSSAs assault rifles. Finally, I want to remind that it is a privilege and not a right to own a firearm in New Zealand. We know that there are many gun owners with legitimate reasons for owning firearms especially in our rural and provincial communities. This work is not directed at them. Our focus is on ensuring the immediate safety and peace of mind of our communities.

MIL OSI

Nationwide reflection for victims of Christchurch terror attack announced

Source: New Zealand Government

A nationwide reflection for those killed in the Christchurch terror attack will be held tomorrow, Friday 22 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

The Muslim Call to Prayer at 1.30pm will be followed by a two-minute silence at 1.32pm, at Hagley Park, opposite the Al Noor Mosque in Deans Ave, Christchurch. This will be broadcast widely with New Zealanders encouraged to join in wherever they may be.

“I know many New Zealanders wish to mark the week that has passed since the terrorist attack and to support the Muslim community as they return to mosques,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“How we choose to reflect during the silence will be different for each of us. Everyone should do what feels right for them, wherever they are – at home, at work, at school.

“Planning is also continuing for a National Memorial Service, which will be held later next week.

“While it will be in Christchurch, we’re looking at how we can involve the rest of New Zealand.

“I appreciate there is significant interest in this Service from throughout New Zealand and internationally, and we will continue to work closely with the local Muslim community, Ngāi Tahu, FIANZ and Christchurch City Council to provide more information as soon as we can.     

“As a nation, as one, we will pay our respects to those who died in Christchurch,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Media advisory: for planning purposes 

1.15pm            Everyone to be in position

1.30pm            Muslim Call to Prayer
1.32pm            Two-minute silence to be observed
1.34pm            Prayers begin, not to be interrupted

2pm                PM departs       

Where: Hagley Park, Christchurch, opposite Al Noor Mosque in Deans Ave, Christchurch. 

Please note: Media will be directed to broadcast from designated locations for images and sound only. The PM will not hold a press conference.  

Protocol note: Preference for women to wear trousers and to cover arms and hair with a scarf or hat. When the Call to Prayer begins, the public may remain standing. All cell phones are to be put on silent. 

Contact for media logistics: Amanda Duncan, Department of Internal Affairs: 027 231 5766, Amanda.Duncan@dia.govt.nz

MIL OSI

Name release 3: Christchurch terror attacks

Source: New Zealand Police

Police are now in the position to formally release the names of further victims identified following Friday’s terror attack. They were: 

Name:                              Ahmed Gamal Eldin Mohamed ABDEL GHANY
Gender:                            Male
Date of birth:                    21 September 1950
Citizenship:                      Egypt & New Zealand
Location of death:            Masjid Al Noor Mosque, Deans Ave, Christchurch

Name:                              Ali Mah’d Abdullah ELMADANI
Gender:                            Male
Date of birth:                   4 March 1953
Citizenship:                      Jordan & New Zealand
Location of death:            Masjid Al Noor Mosque, Deans Ave, Christchurch    

Name:                              Abdukadir ELMI
Gender:                            Male
Date of birth:                   11 May 1953
Citizenship:                     New Zealand
Location of death:           Masjid Al Noor Mosque, Deans Ave, Christchurch    

Name:                             Abdelfattah QASEM
Gender:                           Male
Date of birth:                  24 December 1958
Citizenship:                     Jordan & New Zealand
Location of death:           Masjid Al Noor Mosque, Deans Ave, Christchurch

Name:                             Osama Adnan Yousef ABUKWAIK
Gender:                           Male
Date of birth:                  30 November 1981
Citizenship:                    Palestine
Location of death:          Masjid Al Noor Mosque, Deans Ave, Christchurch

Name:                            Muhammad Suhail SHAHID
Gender:                         Male   
Date of birth:                6 January 1983    
Citizenship:                  Pakistan   
Location of death:        Masjid Al Noor Mosque, Deans Ave, Christchurch     

Name:                          Ansi KARIPPAKULAM ALIBAVA
Gender:                        Female
Date of birth:               19 June 1993
Citizenship:                  India
Location of death:        Masjid Al Noor Mosque, Deans Ave, Christchurch    

Our deepest sympathies and thoughts go out to the family and friends of all the victims as they come to terms with the tragic loss of their loved ones.

Further names will be released when all necessary notifications have been made. 

ENDS
Issued by Police Media Centre 

MIL OSI

SH20 crash contributes to heavy congestion on Auckland Airport motorways

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

State Highway 20 northbound has been closed at the Neilson Street offramp after a serious crash involving 4 vehicles near Queenstown Road. The crash is adding to significant congestion on the transport network.

There is already significant congestion on SH20, SH20A and SH20B to and from Auckland Airport because of a large gathering at the Manukau Memorial Gardens. The Gardens are by the SH20 and SH20B interchange.

The crash on SH20 has backed up northbound traffic to Puhinui, says Auckland Operations Manager Rua Pani.

Traffic from the airport on SH20A is backed up to Landing Drive.

Motorists driving to or around the airport are advised that they need to delay their journeys or plan ahead and allow plenty of time.

Thousands of people have been heading to the Gardens for a burial event which was due to start at 4pm. Many people are still arriving at the venue.

“It’s not clear how many people are planning to attend, but the 4pm timing of the event coincides with the start of evening peak traffic so motorists can expect extended congestion and delays in the area.”

The Memorial Gardens service is expected to last about an hour and then people will leave, adding to the  congestion, which will continue for some time.

“The alternative route to and from the airport is SH20A, but this is also subject to congestion, so again motorists using this route need to plan ahead and be aware there could be delays.”

Anyone in the Auckland Airport area is advised to avoid the roads around the Manukau Memorial Gardens and avoid using SH20B or SH20A.

Motorists are advised to take care and look out for pedestrians around the SH20/20B interchange as there are many cars parked on the road sides and on motorway off ramps.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

MIL OSI

Christchurch terror attack – victim identification complete

Source: New Zealand Police

Please attribute to Police Commissioner Mike Bush

Police have this morning (21 March) completed the identification procedures for all 50 victims of Friday’s terror attacks in Christchurch.

This means that all victims are now able to be released to their families.

I would like to personally acknowledge the families of the victims, and thank you for the support you have shown NZ Police and our coronial colleagues as we worked through the formal identification process.

We know that the wait to have your loved ones returned to you has been difficult and our thoughts have been with you. 

I want to reassure you again that we absolutely recognise how vital the return of your loved ones is.  We have been doing everything in our power to return them to you as quickly as possible, while also ensuring that we have the evidence and information we need for a criminal prosecution. 

I also want to acknowledge and thank religious and community leaders, who continue to provide invaluable support to the families impacted by these terrible attacks.
  
Police will continue to release victim names, once all necessary notifications have been made.

A police team of family liaison officers remains on the ground in Christchurch and will continue to support families.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

MIL OSI

Waitematā Local Board seek nominations for Good Citizens’ Awards

Source: Auckland Council

Waitematā Local Board is seeking nominations from the community to help recognise people and groups, who go above and beyond to contribute towards making Waitematā a great place to live.

The local board introduced its Good Citizens’ Awards in 2011 and have run the event biennially since then.

Waitematā Local Board Chair Pippa Coom says sometimes the work recognised reaches further than just the Waitematā Local Board area.

“At our last Good Citizens’ Awards ceremony in 2017, Community Group Awards’ went to the Outreach Therapy Pets Programme and Rainbow Youth whose work covers the Auckland region.

“Our local board immensely values community-led work and our Good Citizens’ Awards is one of the ways we celebrate this good work. We encourage people to make nominations,” she said.

You can nominate a person or group based within the Waitematā Local Board area by using the online nomination form.

Nominations are open from Monday 18 March, closing Sunday 14 April 2019.

The successful nominees will be recognised at the Waitematā Local Board Good Citizens’ Awards ceremony, which will be held at the Auckland Town Hall on Thursday 16 May 2019.

Award Categories

Individual Award

Recognising individuals who give their time for the community’s benefit.

Children and Young People Award

Recognising children and young people under 24 who give their time to make a positive difference in the community.

Community Group Award

Recognising not-for-profit organisations that do outstanding work for the community, directly or indirectly, and that provide a platform for people to volunteer their time.

MIL OSI

Terrorism a first for NZ but decades now for Afghanistan

Source: MakeLemonade.nz

Christchurch – While last Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch was the first for New Zealand, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Australia and non-resident to New Zealand says his country has been victims of violence and terrorism for more than four decades.

Ambassador Wahidullah Waissi is in Christchurch to pay tribute to the victims in Christchurch, meet NZ authorities and members of the Afghan community in the city.

And today are burial funerals for two Afghan-born New Zealanders – murdered in the terrorist attack on the Al Noor mosque on Deans Ave.

“We condemn these brutal terrorist attacks on peace-loving New Zealanders in Christchurch and we believe there is no place for violence and extremism in Aotearoa New Zealand and in any other parts of the world,” Waissi says.

“But Afghanistan has constantly been a target of terrorism. For the last few years, we have been losing around 10 to 15 people every day to international terrorism.

“When we first heard of the attack in Australia, no one knew why but wondered how it could happen in such a peaceful environment as New Zealand. We never initially realised it was a terrorist act.

“Then when it was announced as an act of terrorism, it was just another assault on people, now in this part of the world. It is understood that international terrorists and extremists do not know borders, race, religion or country. Those who commit such brutal acts, do not believe in any religious values and principles.

“Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has offered his condolences to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has shown her great leadership at this difficult moment and we have passed that on. We regard New Zealand as one of our closest allies.”

“It is a call to embrace inter-faith peace, solidarity, and unity against extremism on all sides.”

Four Afghans have been treated in Christchurch hospital for gunshot wounds.

Ambassador Waissi also endorsed the brave actions of Abdul Aziz who fought the terrorist at the Linwood mosque preventing many more deaths.

A public vigil will be held around the Masjid Al Noor mosque for the first prayers there since the attack tomorrow afternoon.

For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

MIL OSI

Gun control welcomed by Greens

Source: Green Party

The Green Party welcomes the Prime Minister’s announcement on planned gun control laws, Green Party Co-leader James Shaw said today.

“Banning military style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles makes everyone safer. Banning these guns is the first step towards systemic changes to our gun laws,” says James Shaw.

“I welcome this announcement today, we just wish it wasn’t in such tragic circumstances.

“We owe it to the 50 people killed last Friday to ensure this never happens again.

“The Government has heard from tens of thousands of New Zealanders across the country calling for the urgent need to reform our gun laws.

“We are working constructively with our Government partners on further much-needed action to tighten access to guns in our country.

“I am pleased that our Government is acting so swiftly and decisively to rid the country of firearms designed to kill people,” says James Shaw.

MIL OSI