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.

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NZ Post halts firearms delivery

Source: New Zealand Post

NZ Post is undertaking a review of the delivery of any firearms, or firearms parts, through its network.

As the review begins, NZ Post has decided to remove the exemptions given to a small number of licensed firearms retailers that allow firearms to be delivered through the NZ Post courier network under certain conditions. 

This decision for the review has been made following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

We have taken these steps for the health and safety of our people, pending the outcome of the Government’s urgent review of firearms legislation, and because it is the right thing to do in these extraordinary circumstances. 

Delivery of firearms and firearm parts in both the mail and courier networks is prohibited.  However, we have previously granted exemptions to allow delivery through the courier network for a small number of licensed retailers under certain conditions. We are putting a pause on this, as we do the review.

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NZ among the worst countries for physical inactivity

Source: MakeLemonade.nz

Christchurch – New Zealand is rated 10th best in the world for gym membership but we have some of the worst physical inactivity levels globally, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

He has just returned from a World Health Organisation conference in Geneva where he led a session on global standards for exercise professionals.

“For a country like ours, we should be much more active. About 14 percent of the population have gym memberships which puts us right up there, but we also have some of the worst inactivity levels with 40 percent of New Zealanders inactive which just doesn’t meet the WHO levels for active societies. This makes us 13th worst globally for inactvity,” Beddie says.

“New Zealand is fast becoming a country of haves and have nots when it comes to physical activity.

“WHO believes anything more than 28 percent of the population not exercising is unacceptable – and in New Zealand it is even worse or a high level of inactivity for children.

“Globally the average rate of inactivity (defined as less than 150 minutes of physical activity a week) is 28 percent. New Zealand’s 40 percent inactivity rate is therefore very concerning, especially considering that the rate for childrens’ inactivity is even higher (as high as 90 percent in some age groups).

“My presentation was about how the exercise industry has developed global standards for exercise professionals, now adopted by 12 countries including the US, India, China, Canada, NZ, Australia, the UK.

“NZ was at the forefront of standards development for exercise professionals, being the third country in the world to develop a national registration system underpinned by qualifications mapped to government standards.

“The WHO meeting was very productive with lots of actionable steps, including the likely introduction of inclusive fitness which is a campaign driven by UNESCO. WHO are looking at including that initiative into their global physical activity plan.

“ExerciseNZ has already agreed to launch it in New Zealand. It’s all about making exercise accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or disability.”

Those with disabilities have barriers to taking part in some activities but this initiative is training staff, developing specific programmes where needed and supporting those with disabilities to take part in existing programmes and services offered by exercise providers.

Beddie says in the context of the UNESCO initiative, New Zealand had more than one million people who would fall into the disability category such sight loss, physical and mental disability and chronic health conditions.

He also attended the IHRSA conference in San Diego and he hosted the Australasian forum discussing how to support non-exercising groups with exercise, instructor standards, and career pathways for people entering the exercise industry.

“The big issue is how to support those that don’t traditionally take part in exercise or haven’t done so in many years.

“Finally but most importantly, our heartfelt thoughts go out to the families, friends and whanau of those affected by last week’s tragedy in Christchurch.

“As part of the Christchurch community, we stand united to say terrorism has no place in our country. Our fitness community in particular prides itself on being inclusive and where there is no room for racial or religious discrimination, and all are welcome.”

For further information contact Richard Beddie on 027 5205744 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Photo: Richard Beddie with WHO delegates in Geneva

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The end of our innocence

Source: MakeLemonade.nz

Opinion editorial

By Paul Kench, the Canterbury Police crime services manager (officer in charge, CIB) at time of February 22, 2011 earthquakes

Christchurch – In retirement, I’m reluctant to join the social media world as a commenter, informed or otherwise, however for my own peace of mind I’ve decided to record some of my thoughts, relating to the sickening and fatal events at the Christchurch Muslim mosques last Friday, March 15.

I was privileged in my final years of police service to have significant exposure nationally and internationally to the inner-most workings of the complex worlds of intelligence gathering and investigations in the counter terrorism (CT) space.

I’m not a fan of the labelling definition types of offending as the reality is much of it is straight out criminal behaviour.

Script writers prepare decision-makers with a series of complex scenarios for training and exercise purposes and having been subjected to this in the past.

I have always expressed my opinion that one day New Zealand would be a target for terrorism. The magnitude and scale of what occurred in my own city last Friday has staggered me the most.

Like most New Zealanders, I could only watch and observe on television as events unfolded, albeit with an in-depth knowledge of what would be occurring from the ground floor front line response, to the highest levels of what would be happening at ODESC, which is a secret group which forms at times of national crisis.

Immediate coverage illustrated the danger of the speculative experts and a range of commentators articulating a sound bite or headline that was given as a statement of facts, unchallenged.

The danger is that much of that speculation will be untrue and not factual, however in the minds of those listening opinions formed creating rumours that will not be debunked even once the facts fully emerge.

Media interviews with so called experts and other commentators who feel obliged to comment on areas beyond their stations and subject knowledge are extremely unhelpful and dangerous.

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by knee jerk reactions as commentators offer solutions to any manner of issue when the actual problem isn’t defined with any accuracy or proper analysis.

One illustration is uninformed commentary about any potential watchlist. We don’t live in utopia. A watchlist isn’t the panacea that guarantees evil things will be stopped or won’t occur.

Even if someone ticks off some boxes and is on a watchlist, we don’t live in a society whereby law enforcement can automatically remove that someone.

Defence lawyers make their livelihoods on challenging law enforcement policy, procedure, guilt or innocence of their clients, always arguing their client would not conduct themselves in any manner the authorities may be arguing.

There is a reluctance to blame individuals for their own actions. Blame must lay with someone else or some other factor not the individual themselves.

A lone wolf is someone who operates on their own accord, whatever may be occurring in their own mind, sound or otherwise. If the lone wolf doesn’t share their thoughts and actions with someone else the likelihood of any future planning or activity is most unlikely to reach the ears of anyone else and be uncovered.

The key components of any terrorism assessment are the intent and capability of the offender (s). Without one the other won’t happen.

It’s much easy to join the dots after the event and if authorities aren’t aware of something as illustrated above, they cannot magically join those dots unless the subject is a target. In the complex variables of the human mind there is no accounting for pure evil.

The major takeaway for me is that in response to Friday’s events, New Zealanders should be very proud of the New Zealand Police. I know that I am.

The fact that despite the carnage and whatever comes from the background of this evil perpetrator and despicable human being, who has tarnished the name of my great city, was in custody and alive within 36 minutes from when his attack commenced.

Commissioner Mike Bush has shown incredible leadership and public reassurance in that he leads an organisation of many good people, who know what they are about and who will get to the core of what occurred and the why, without speculating but by relying on facts.

Footnote: Paul Kench is a retired NZ Police Detective Superintendent. He had qualified in Australia as a Counter Terrorism Senior Investigating Officer.

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The Christchurch tragedy – E tū

Source: Etu Union

Dear E tū members,

We have returned to work this week under the sorrowful shadow of a great and unjust tragedy.

On behalf of all E tū members I express my respect and support to all of our many Muslim and migrant members and your families. We are proud of what you bring to your union and your country.

Our Christchurch members and your families feel, understandably, that you have been kicked in the guts again.

Our Christchurch union staff and a number of elected delegates supported each other in lockdown at our Cashel St office into Friday evening while the situation unfolded and stabilised. We have staff and members who have been directly affected by this terrorist atrocity.

I would like to thank our E tū members at the hospitals that have been working around the clock to make sure the victims get the best care possible. This includes security, orderlies, cleaners, food service workers and trade staff.

I believe New Zealanders have a keen collective sense of respect, tolerance, dignity and a fair-go for all and this has really shone through in our nations response over recent days.  I have received a huge number of messages of support from across the global union movement, expressing the solidarity of working people across the world.

We mourn with our fellow Kiwis who have lost their loved ones.  Our union can play a key role in assisting members over the next period.  We have already started assisting with public rallies during the weekend and that will continue.

Please click here for some more information from us that I hope you find helpful.

Solidarity Christchurch.

Bill Newson
National Secretary

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CERT NZ Advisory — Christchurch tragedy-related scams and attacks

Source: Companies Office – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: CERT NZ Advisory — Christchurch tragedy-related scams and attacks

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IDEA Services care workers to strike 1 April – E tū

Source: Etu Union

Three thousand care and support workers employed by IDEA Services, the operational arm of IHC, have voted to strike on 1 April.

E tū industry co-ordinator Alastair Duncan says members voted overwhelmingly to strike after five months of challenging bargaining, during which IDEA has failed to respond positively to key workforce and safety concerns.

“Support workers at IDEA do an extraordinary job of supporting young and old people with intellectual disabilities,” says Alastair.

“Every day and every night, seven days a week, staff go the extra mile. Just once a year we ask IDEA to reflect that contribution by working together to improve the working conditions of staff.”

Alastair Duncan says union members have sought a greater voice on health and safety, and recognition for working weekends as well as the restoration of responsibility margins.

“IDEA responded by wanting to cut sick leave accumulation, force staff to move workplaces without agreement or notice and simply refused to consider recognition that staff are required to work anti-social hours.”

Alastair says IHC operates the same business model as for-profit care providers, spinning off its financially successful property division from its operational arm.

“IHC is a major landlord and property company that depends on its care staff. It is tragic to see them ignoring their own workforce.

“IHC has a strong and growing asset base but refuses to do the smart thing and allow its property arm to support its operational arm.”

Alastair says staff are concerned that IDEA has dug its heels in leaving them little choice but to take what is lawful, modest but important industrial action.

The union is seeking urgent mediation but if the strike goes ahead, will be holding nationwide high-profile pickets.

“Support workers will be reaching out to families and the community to work with us to persuade IDEA to do the right thing and respect it’s staff,” he says.

Alastair Duncan says IHC locked its staff out of weekend pay and other allowances in the 1990’s and it is now well past time to return what was stolen.

The strike will begin at 7.00 am and affect several hundred residential, vocational and secure homes and facilities.

ENDS

For further information contact Alastair Duncan on 027 245 6593.

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Hospital specialist among the victims of Christchurch shooting

Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

ASMS is saddened to report that one of our members, Dr Amjad Hamid, died in Friday’s mass shooting in Christchurch.

Stuff website reports that Amjad Hamid, 57, was an SMO and rural hospital consultant at Hawera Hospital. Prior to that he was a senior doctor with a special interest in cardiology, and worked for Canterbury DHB and as a locum at other DHBs around the country. He lived in Christchurch with his wife and family but travelled to Hawera for work. He was well-liked for his kindness, compassion and sense of humour. He was a hard-working doctor, deeply committed to caring for his patients, and a thoughtful team member who was supportive of all staff. When he returned to Hawera Hospital he often brought fresh baklava from a bakery in Christchurch for everyone.

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Senior doctors’ union acknowledges contribution of Waikato’s interim health chief

Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

The senior doctors’ union says departing Waikato District Health Board interim chief Derek Wright provided much-needed stability in the wake of the Nigel Murray scandal.

“The DHB desperately needed a steady pair of hands at the helm after former Chief Executive Nigel Murray left in disgrace,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

“Staff were unsettled and morale was very low. Derek Wright’s job was to stabilise the ship so the DHB could get on with the task of providing health care to Waikato’s communities, as well as being a better place to work.”

Mr Powell was commenting on news that Waikato DHB’s interim Chief Executive Derek Wright is departing at the end of April (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/111304317/waikatos-health-boss-derek-wright-to-leave).

He says Derek Wright made a significant contribution to turning around the DHB’s leadership culture.

“We wish him the best for the future, and hope that he will not be lost to the public health service.”

Mr Powell says the DHB’s new Chief Executive, when appointed, must be someone who understands the challenges facing the DHB’s vital health workforce, and who has vision and courage.

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Christchurch Muslims in grief, shock

Source: MakeLemonade.nz

Christchurch  – A member of the Muslim community in Christchurch says the Muslims in the city are in a shock following the terrorist attacks.

Hedayat Najib, head of Business Studies at the Abacus Institute of Studies in Christchurch, says he and his family have been in contact with friends and families.

But they could not make any direct contact with friends who had been shot but survived the shooting, he says.

“I have just made contact with one of our friends who was shot. He is alive and I am heading to the hospital now.

“A friend sent a text just after the attack saying he was injured but communications via text has been difficult.

“My family was immediately thrown into shock and are very scared. My wife Nilab was shaking all night. Our kids were scared and we all slept in the same room locking every door to assure my kids of their safety.

“When I heard the news of Haji Dawood Nabi, whom I have always called uncle, I had to leave the room to cry as we did not want our kids get further distressed. At least two other family friends are dead.

“The atmosphere in the community is that we are all in a state of grief and, at the same time, in shock. We wonder just how such an event can happen in Christchurch, what we call heaven on earth.

“Saying all this, our mindsets towards our shared home (New Zealand) and our other Kiwi brothers and sisters will not change.

“We are all Kiwis and we will stand taller and stronger than before, to combat terrorist. This cancer, which is terrorism, in today’s world does not have religion or colour.

“We need to stand united together and will defy terrorism together by engaging, communicating and embracing each others values’ and contributions.

“The people who commit such atrocities are just criminals who are scared of difference and diversity,” Najib says.

He was an Afghan refugee and came to Christchurch Afghanistan as a teenager. He has a post graduate masters degree from the University of Canterbury.

Najib says his life changed in the early 1990s when the warlords broke into Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. During the factional fighting that followed many atrocities were committed and about 60,000 Kabulis were killed.

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