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Eugenie Sage's speech in response to Christchurch mosque terror attacks

Al salam alaikum. Everyone here in this House is expressing the deep grief and shock that is being felt across our country. We represent our people when we share the loss and the pain that Friday's terrorist attack and mass murder caused. My thoughts are with the families and friends of each of the 50 individuals who died and the many others who have been seriously injured, and their brothers and sisters who were in the mosques and survived. I acknowledge each of you and your profound loss.

The fact that we failed to provide individuals and families who chose New Zealand as their home with a safe place to worship is deeply distressing, so it was all the more extraordinary to listen to the Muslim community leaders address the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and others at the Canterbury refugee resettlement centre on the morning after the attack. The courage, the humility, and the compassion that was in their words was extraordinary.

We can't change what happened, but the outpouring of love and the coming together in a spirit of shared loss and pain that we have seen around New Zealand and overseas speaks to who we are as New Zealanders. The response has been one of unity, support, and aroha, with thousands coming together to smother hate with love. This shared sadness and aroha creates the strongest basis for working with resolve towards a country where we all feel safe, where we all know that we are valued, and where we are all protected from harm. So I'm pleased that our Government is acting to strengthen our gun control laws to help do that, and, through an inquiry, we'll be seeking information on the focus and priorities of New Zealand's intelligence agencies.

This terrorist attack has rocked my city of Ōtautahi—Christchurch—our country, and our world. I don't have a frame of reference for it, and I'm struggling. The terrain is confusing. It's complex, as Mr Brownlee noted. It's raised many troubling issues about the world we live in, but it must increase our efforts to ensure that all our people in our country are protected from violence and aggression in all of its forms, whether it's written, spoken, or physical.

As we come to terms with this tragedy, there are difficult conversations ahead for Aotearoa, so this is a time to reaffirm our commitment to diversity, to inclusion, to equality, and to peace. It's a time to acknowledge the extraordinary response of our agencies: the police, the Canterbury district health service, the clinicians, the staff and the hospitals, but it's also a time to acknowledge the media, for giving individual voices a larger audience, for amplifying the actions of aroha, and for their thoughtfulness in moderating what they share and thinking carefully about how they will report the trial of the murderer.

We can all help by holding on to love and hope, by expanding the circle of those that we know as friends, by connecting with each other, and by our sense of purpose. The effects of this event, like the earthquakes in Christchurch, will take decades to heal. While we go through this, let us be kinder to each other each day, be insightful about what needs to change, and to do that together. Ngā mihi nui aroha nui ki a koutou.