The Green Party can reveal that John Key has known since May 2015 that no women left New Zealand to go to the Middle East as so called “jihadi brides”, making the damage he inflicted on Islamic women even more calculating.
The Prime Minster has confirmed to the Green Party that he knew on May 25 -- six months prior to first introducing the notion of Kiwi Jihadi brides at a December select committee hearing last year -- that no women had left New Zealand to join fighters in the middle east. 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?”
“The Prime Minister knew the truth for six months yet went out of his way to seed the idea of jihadi brides in the media, then failed to correct the misunderstanding that followed,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
“It’s impossible to trust a thing John Key has to say about security matters any more. This episode shows he is prepared to go out of the way to whip up fear, and discredit Islamic women, in order to meet his own political aims.
“John Key should apologise to Islamic women for the damage he has caused them and explain why he ignored their requests for an explanation.
“John Key’s mistruths created the impression that terrorist sympathisers were living among us. He fueled a climate of fear in New Zealand and whipped up completely unsubstantiated suspicions about Islamic women in the process.”
Anjum Rahman told TV3’s The Nation programme today that John Key’s claims put Islamic women living here under suspicion. As New Zealanders, the Prime Minister is responsible for our protection and safety too, she said.
“John Key’s behaviour shows why we need a proper Select Committee to provide oversight for the Intelligence Services, which like other select committees is not chaired by the Prime Minister and doesn’t allow responsible Ministers as members,” said Mrs Turei.
Copy of the answer to Metiria Turei’s question to the Prime Minister:
Question: On what date was the Prime Minister first made aware that "jihadi brides" he referred to during the Intelligence and Security Committee meeting were all resident in Australia and did not leave from New Zealand?
Answer Text: I am advised that the first occasion on which my office received information about a New Zealand woman departing from Australia and travelling to Syria and/or Iraq was 25 May 2015. I subsequently received further briefings concerning additional New Zealand women who had departed from Australia to travel to Syria and/or Iraq.