Ardern, Bridges unite to support Muslim community in Christchurch

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told members of a Christchurch refugee centre and Muslim community representatives she had "three incredibly important roles" in the aftermath of the Christchurch terrorist attack at two mosques that left 49 people dead. 

"One is to bring the message of love and support and grief of the people of New Zealand," she said, alongside Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, Opposition leader Simon Bridges and Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

"New Zealand is united in its grief and we are united in our grief."

Ms Ardern said she brought the country's "desire to show in whatever way they can, that physical support and love that they have for our Muslim community". 

Her second role was "to ensure your safety, your freedom to worship safely, your freedom to express your culture and religion".

"You were quick to mention this is not the New Zealand that you know. I want to reaffirm that today. This is not New Zealand."

She said the only part of the last 24 hours that was New Zealand "is the support you are seeing. But nothing that led up to it is who we are or who this city is". 

"We need to keep having a conversation around how we ensure your ongoing safety in the aftermath of this horrific attack."

Ms Ardern said her last role was to ensure the Muslim community have the space to grieve, "while we make sure we take care of those concerns that may not be in the immediate aftermath but will be in the days and weeks to come". 

"There will be questions around how we ensure people's livelihoods, how we ensure they can meet day to day needs when they have lost often what will be primary breadwinners. We need to acknowledge the victims here."

Opposition leader Simon Bridges also spoke, telling the community, "we are with you".

"We are all here united.

"I stand here to show that complete unity of the Parliament of New Zealanders behind our Prime Minister, with you, condemning what has happened, wanting to support you and show you the love and compassion that you have and all New Zealanders have, given the tragic things that have happened," Mr Bridges said.