John Key knew NZ ‘jihadi brides’ claim to be false

The Prime Minister deliberately misled the New Zealand public into believing women had left New Zealand to join terrorist groups and become what he described as “jihadi Brides”, the Green Party says.

The Prime Minister deliberately misled the New Zealand public into believing women had left New Zealand to join terrorist groups and become what he described as “jihadi Brides”, the Green Party says.

In Parliament today, Government Minister Gerry Brownlee confirmed the Prime Minister knew, before the Intelligence and Security Committee hearing in December 2015, that no Kiwi women had left New Zealand to become “jihadi brides”.

At the hearing, SIS director Rebecca Kitteridge described young New Zealand women leaving to live with terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, at which point the Prime Minister asked her: “Whereas they are now going as jihadi brides?”

“John Key’s comments after the hearing created the distinct impression that the women had been living in New Zealand, and that there had been terrorists, or terrorist sympathisers living among us,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“The Prime Minster used his idea of ‘jihadi brides’ to whip up fear and suspicion among New Zealanders, at the same time the spy agencies were seeking more powers. He had plenty of opportunities to clarify that none of the women had been living in New Zealand before they left for Syria and to correct the media that any impression that terrorist sympathisers had been living here was wrong.

“The Prime Minister lied by omission and he hurt innocent New Zealanders in the process.

“This is another example of John Key not telling the full truth, in order to get his own way. We saw the same thing when he tried to hide the fact he had been childhood friends with former GCSB director Ian Fletcher, at the time he appointed Mr Fletcher to the job.

“The Islamic Women’s Council asked the Prime Minister for evidence to back his claims about ‘jihadi brides’. He refused. Today, Gerry Brownlee told Parliament that was because the country that the women were living in before they left for the Middle East was “irrelevant”.

“The Islamic Women’s Council didn’t think it was irrelevant, that’s why they asked for proof. The women deserve an apology from the Prime Minister for his arrogant and hurtful response to their concerns,” Mrs Turei said.

Radio New Zealand audio track in which Mr Key can clearly be heard asking about “jihadi brides”.

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