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Jacinda Ardern apologises for failings identified by inquiry

At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti.

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New Zealand security agencies were “almost exclusively” focused on the perceived threat of Islamist terrorism before a white supremacist gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch last year, a report into the country’s worst massacre found.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry also criticized police for failing to enforce proper checks when granting a firearms license to Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant, who released a racist manifesto shortly before the attack and streamed the shootings live on Facebook.

But despite the shortcomings, the commission found no failings within government agencies that would have prevented the attack at two mosques in the South Island city on March 15, 2019.

“The commission made no findings that these issues would have stopped the attack. But these were both failings and for that I apologise,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said after the report was released.

Tarrant was sentenced to life in prison without parole in August for the attack, which left dozens injured.
Ardern received global praise for her compassionate response to the attack and for swiftly banning the sale of the high-capacity semi-automatic weapons Tarrant used. She also launched a global movement against online extremism.

However, authorities were criticised for ignoring repeated warnings from the Muslim community that hate crimes against them were escalating.

The 800-page report said there was an “inappropriate concentration of resources” on the threat of Islamist extremist terrorism.

Submissions to the commission by various Muslim organisations described how they felt they were targeted by security agencies while threats against them were not taken seriously.

“We find it concerning that the Commissioners found systemic failures and an inappropriate concentration of resources towards Islamic terrorism, and yet state that these would not have made a difference to the terrorist being detected prior to the event,” the Islamic Women’s Council said in a statement.

Gamal Fouda, the Imam of Al Noor mosque which was targeted by the shooter, said the report showed “institutional prejudice and unconscious bias” exists in government agencies.

Hate crimes 

The government accepted all 44 recommendations in the report, including establishing a new national intelligence and security agency, and appointing a minister to coordinate the government’s response.

It said it would create an ethnic community ministry and a graduate programme for ethnic communities to support the country’s diverse population.

The government would also tighten firearm licensing laws, strengthen counter-terrorism laws, and make changes so police can better record and respond to hate crime.

The report found that despite having no history in New Zealand, Tarrant’s application for a firearms license was approved by the police.

It recommended mandatory reporting of firearm injuries by health professionals, after it was revealed Tarrant was treated by doctors in the months leading up to the attack after accidentally shooting himself.

Social isolation 

The report described Tarrant as “socially isolated” with few childhood friends but an avid internet user and online gamer.

Before arriving in New Zealand in August 2017, he travelled extensively, visiting dozens of countries between 2014 and 2017, mostly alone.

“The individual could present well and conducted himself in a way that did not attract suspicion. He was not identified as someone who posed a threat,” said the report.

Other than an email Tarrant sent eight minutes before he opened fire, there was no other information available that could have alerted authorities to the attack, it said.

Tarrant trained for the attack in New Zealand by developing expertise with guns at a rifle club, working out at a gym and taking steroids to bulk up, the report said.

He frequented extreme right-wing discussion boards such as those on 4chan and 8chan but YouTube was a far more significant source of information and inspiration.

Ardern said she planned to raise this directly with the leadership of YouTube.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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26-year-old charged after man found dead in car outside vape store

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Police in Auckland have arrested a man in relation to the homicide investigation launched in Mount Wellington at the weekend.

Officers were called to Penrose Road in Mount Wellington about 10.40pm on Saturday after reports of a gun being fired outside a business.

On arrival they found a man dead in a car.

Police have named the man as 22-year-old Texas Jack Doctor.

They say a 26-year-old man has been arrested, charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

He is expected to appear in Auckland District Court Wednesday.

VIA RNZ

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‘I want her to die’: Man’s vicious attack on wife in McDonald’s revealed in court documents

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Warning: The content of this story may be distressing to some readers

A man’s vicious attack and attempted murder of his wife in an Auckland McDonald’s during their separation earlier this year has been described in court documents.

Mitesh Kumar appeared in the High Court at Auckland on Wednesday morning, pleading guilty to attempted murder and two counts of failing to carry out obligations under search powers.

The 45-year-old Auckland man stabbed and slashed his partner multiple times with a utility knife at a McDonald’s restaurant in Mt Roskill in January.

Court documents reveal Kumar entered the McDonald’s alone, after concealing the knife in his pants pocket.

He had arranged to meet his wife, whom he had been married to for about 18 years before they separated, with the promise that he would bring her two children with him.

Kumar had not seen her or his children in four months prior to the attack.

His wife arrived outside the restaurant and called him when she saw the children were not present.

Police at the scene of an assault at McDonald's on Stoddard Road in Auckland's Mount Roskill on 11 January 2024.

Police at the scene. Photo: RNZ / Lucy Xia

He convinced the woman to come into the restaurant, saying her children were across the road.

Kumar’s wife entered the McDonald’s sitting opposite him at the table, when he began asking the woman to accept a lower divorce settlement offer, something she did not want to talk about.

At this point, Kumar revealed a nude photograph of his wife he kept on his phone, saying he would show others the photo if she did not accept the lower offer.

As his wife attempted to leave, Kumar stood and lunged forward with the knife.

He slashed the woman across the left side of her neck and throat three times, pushing her over a table, and breaking it in the process.

Kumar stood over his wife, grabbing her by the hair as she struggled to her feet, slashing her in the same place a further three times.

Bystanders and McDonald’s staff pled with him to stop.

“Don’t stop me, just stay away,” replied Kumar, threatening the onlookers with his knife.

He continued to attack his wife, holding her down while he slashed at her neck and body.

Kumar spoke to his wife in Gujarati, telling her she had wrecked his life and lost his children.

There was a pause, and Kumar’s wife tried to sit up before he continued stabbing and slashing at her neck, throat, upper body and the back of her head, while she held up her arms in an effort to protect herself.

Kumar stopped to adjust his knife, before continuing his attack.

Court documents said he suffered a mechanical failure and paused to fix it.

His wife was unable to push him away, as Kumar overpowered her, slashing yet again at her neck.

He paused and took out a new blade from the handle of his utility knife, replacing the one he was using to attack his wife.

Kumar slashed at the woman’s neck and throat four more times, pausing to take deep breaths, before attacking once more.

Others in the restaurant tried to talk to Kumar, as he screamed at them that his wife has ruined his life.

“I want her to die, you can call the police,” he told them.

He attacked several more times, targeting his wife’s neck thrice more, before a member of the public intervened with a chair.

The attack lasted seven minutes and 44 seconds.

Kumar only stopped after police arrived.

His wife suffered multiple penetrating wounds to her neck, throat, left ear, the back of her head, and her upper chest area, as well as multiple lacerations and defensive wounds to her hands and arms.

Court documents reveal that her injuries were so severe, she needed to be admitted to theatre so they could be repaired.

Meanwhile, Kumar was taken to Auckland City Police Station.

He told authorities his wife was asking for too much money in the divorce settlement.

“If she dies, and I go to jail, everything goes to the kids.

“That is the motive.”

Kumar has been remanded in custody until sentencing in November.

VIA RNZ

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Water outage in several streets of Wellington suburb of Karori

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Up to 500 properties in the Wellington suburb of Karori are without water.

Wellington Water said its crews were responding to a burst water main on Monaghan Avenue.

The area affected includes:

  • Collier Avenue
  • Woodhouse Avenue
  • Parklands Drive
  • Lynmouth Avenue
  • Landsdowne Terrace
  • Parsons Glen

Wellington Water said to carry out repairs its crews also had to turn the water off to Monaghan Avenue from Karori Road to Paparata Street, including all of Hawick Street, Selkirk Way, Laidlaw Way, Ridd Crescent.

Two water tankers have been arranged to provide drinking water to those affected which Wellington Water said would remain in place until the water was restored.

There is a tanker at 1 Parata Street and another one on the intersection of Collier Avenue and Richmond Avenue.

Residents could notice that their water appeared cloudy or had air pockets once it was turned back on, Wellington Water said.

But it said its crews would flush the hydrants in the zone once the repair had been completed.

Wellington Water said it expected water to be restored to the area at about 5pm on Wednesday.

A map showing the area of the water outage in Karori.

A map showing the area of the water outage in Karori. Photo: Supplied

VIA RNZ 

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