Collins calls for public inquiry into Countdown terrorist attack

Source: 1News

National Leader Judith Collins has written to the prime minister calling for a public inquiry into the terrorist attack at Countdown Lynnmall on Friday.

National Party leader Judith Collins (no spaces)

Collins said both the attack on Friday and those of Christchurch in March 2019 had left questions of what opportunities the Government had to stop the attacks from taking place.

She claimed little had been done to advance the Royal Commission's recommendations from its inquiry into the events of March 2019. 

Collins also claimed no work has been done on establishing a Counter-Terrorism Agency, which was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission.

"It is evident that we have a lot more work to do as a Parliament to make New Zealand safer," Collins said.

She also said the attack on Friday had highlighted some vulnerabilities in the country's immigration and counter-terrorism law. 

In her letter to the prime minister, Collins called for an inquiry into the "legal, ministerial, and departmental responses" prior to the terrorist's death. 

She said interoperability of agencies such as the police, NZSIS, GCSB, Immigration and Corrections was worthy of an inquiry.

Collins said the terrorist's deportation from New Zealand would have "with certainty" prevented his attack on Friday. 

"The Immigration Act and the United Nations Declaration on Refugees provides that even a refugee can be deported on the grounds of national security," Collins wrote. 

"That legal advice received and relied on by you has not been made available to Opposition parties, even on a confidential basis."

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Police guard the area around Countdown LynnMall after a violent extremist took out a terrorist attack stabbing six people before being shot by police on September 03, 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand. A man has been killed by police after injuring multiple people in a mass stabbing incident at LynnMall supermarket in West Auckland. Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern has addressed the country describing the attack as violent and senseless. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

As a result of Friday's attack, Collins admitted National needed to step up its own work in the area.

It has appointed its MP Mark Mitchell as its Counter-Terrorism spokesperson.

He will also take on the responsibility of shadowing Minister Andrew Little in his role as the minister in charge of the Royal Commission.

Collins said Mitchell had been appointed due to his 14 years in the police force, 11 of which was spent on specialist squads. 

He also has experience in overseas conflict zones. 

"I am confident that Mark’s expertise will be an asset to New Zealand as he leads the work we have committed to doing in working with the Government to better protect New Zealand from terrorism," Collins said.

"National is taking our responsibility as elected representatives very seriously. I have said it many times this week and I will say it again; the Government’s primary job is to keep New Zealanders safe and National will support them to do so."