No terrorist deserves their name shared, says PM

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

The Prime Minister today released details regarding the terrorist who carried out yesterday's West Auckland supermarket attack. 

She also announced that counter terrorism changes currently going through Parliament would be sped up, intending to pass it by the end of the month.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Commissioner Andrew Coster.

Jacinda Ardern was only able to release some details about the terrorist around his criminal history, and not able to release all the information held on him. 

"Overnight and this morning, work has been undertaken by Crown Law to have the courts allow us to release that information. That has been successful, however, the court has given the individual's family had 24 hours to raise any concerns regarding release of certain information," she said.

"The remaining information I hope we will be able to share within the next 24 hours."

Ardern was also unable to share his name. 

However, she has no intention to do so, regardless of suppression laws. 

"No terrorist, whether alive or deceased, deserves their name to be shared for the infamy they were seeking," Ardern said. 

Jacinda Ardern said every possible legal avenue was pursued and he was kept in prison "as long as we could".

Seven shoppers were injured on Friday after a knife was obtained inside a New Lynn supermarket. Five are in hospital, three of those are in a critical condition and the remaining people are recovering at home. 

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said there was nothing unusual about the suspects' routine on Friday. 

He travelled to the supermarket by train and was observed entering the supermarket at 2.27pm. 

The terrorist was shopping normally for 10 minutes.

A review on CCTV found the first stabbing occurred 60 to 90 seconds before the surveillance team heard shouts and saw people running. 

When asked if it were appropriate for police to use lethal force, Coster said, "absolutely, without a doubt".

Coster said police would have presence at supermarkets and places of gathering to give the public assurance.

The footage shows him removing a kitchen knife in the store, and one was found close to him after he was shot, Coster said. 

"This case is an outlier and we are not looking for anyone else in relation to yesterday's events."

He was shot dead by police within a minute of the attack beginning. 

He was influenced by ISIS and believed in a violent ideology. He had been monitored by police and security services since 2016. 

Timeline - 

October 2011: The man arrived in New Zealand on a student visa aged 22. 

April 2016: He is spoken to by police for the first time after coming to the attention of law enforcement. He was warned by police again in May.

May 2017: Despite the warnings, he continued this activity and was arrested at Auckland International Airport by police, who believed he was on his way to Syria. A search of his apartment found restricted publications and a hunting knife. Was charged with possessing them, pleaded guilty to knowingly distributing restricted publications, fraud and failing to assist police in the execution of their search powers. He was released on bail.

August 2018: While on bail, he bought a knife and was arrested for doing so. Police issued a search warrant and found objectional and extremist material. He was additionally charged with possessing this material, the weapon and failing to assist police in the execution of their search powers. He was kept in custody.

September 2018: The individual was sentenced to 12 months supervision in relation to the first set of charges and remained in prison due to the charges committed while on bail. At the same time, ministers were briefed on counter-terrorism legislation. This included policy on preparatory acts that might be linked to terrorist activity.

July 2020: The Crown made an unsuccessful attempt to lay an additional charge under existing terrorism act for his online posts and possession of the hunting knife but it was rejected by the High Court. However, charges for possessing these items were still valid and he was remanded in custody for sentencing. During this time he assaulted corrections officers and faced charges for these acts as well.

April 2021: The draft bill for new counter-terrorism legislation was released and had its first reading in May.

May 2021: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is briefed on the potential threat the man possessed. He was convicted in the High Court on charges of possessing objectional publications and failing to assist the police to exercise their search powers. He was also found guilty of another charge of possessing objectional material and having a knife in a public place. The Crown sought GPS monitoring but this was not imposed by the courts.

Having exhausted all legal avenues and not being able to convict the man for charges that would warrant imprisonment, police began to prepare for his eventual release. This included round-the-clock surveillance by officers and the armed special tactics group.

July 2021: He is released from custody back into the community and kept under a close eye. In late July, Ardern was given a written update on the situation.

August 2021: In late August, police seek to add expediting amendments to the counter-terrorism legislation.

September 2021: The Minister of Justice seeks to speed up the law change on Friday September 3, the same day as the terrorist attack. Around 2.30pm, the man attacked people at LynnMall Countdown with a knife he took from the shelves. Having heard the commotion, armed special tactics group agents tracking the man rushed into the supermarket and shot him dead within two minutes of the first attack.