National Party has appointed MP Mark Mitchell as its Spokesperson for Counter-Terrorism.
Party Leader Judith Collins told the media in Wellington yesterday (September 9, 2021) that she took the decision with her Deputy Dr Shane Reti, following the terror attack at Lynn Mall in New Lynn, West Auckland on September 3, 2021.
Ideology of hatred
She said that although the ideology that drove the terrorist (who was shot dead by the Police at Countdown supermarket) was different to the Christchurch Mosques attack on March 15, 2019, there were certainly some commonalities.
“Neither of these terrorists was home-grown. They brought their ideology to our shores. Both expressed a deep hatred for their targets online and in forums. Both were ‘lone-wolves’. And both attacks have left us with questions of what opportunities that the government had to prevent them from taking place,” she said.
Ms Collins agreed with the government’s decision to call for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch massacre and the extensive report with recommendations that ensued.
But nothing has been done to advance the recommendations, she said and called on the Prime Minister to institute an inquiry into the terror attack on September 3, 2021.
Call for an Inquiry Commission
“This attack has highlighted some vulnerabilities in our Immigration and Counter-Terrorism law. It is important that a Public Inquiry is conducted so that the interoperability of Government agencies can also be examined. Cases like that of this terrorist interact with the state across agencies and more cooperation is required. A Public Inquiry ensures level accountability and transparency as it results in a report being presented to the House of Representatives,” Ms Collins said.
Criticising the government for not establishing a Counter-Terrorism Agency that was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry, she said that such an Agency will provide clear leadership and accountability and ensure cross-agency cooperation.
She said that Mark Mitchell will be responsible for shadowing Minister Andrew Little in his role as the Minister in charge of the Royal Commission.
About Mark Mitchell
“Mark spent 14 years in the Police force, eleven of which were spent on specialist squads including Armed Offenders Squad and Police Dog Section. He was trained and deployed in Police Surveillance and among his awards are a Police Gold Merit Award for Bravery and Dedication to Duty and Commissioner’s Commendation.
“Mark also has experience in overseas conflict zones. He has lead protection units in Iraq and was headhunted to deploy with the Iraqi Tactical Support Unit which focused on anti-terrorism operations. He has advised many governments including the US, British, Italian, Australian, and Japanese. Mark has worked with America’s Deputy Secretary of State and Defence at the Pentagon on operations. And of course, he was New Zealand’s Minister of Defence in the previous National government,” she said.
Ms Collins said that she is confident that Mr Mitchell’s expertise will be an asset to New Zealand as he leads the work which National Party has committed with the current government to protect New Zealand better from Terrorism.
“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,” Ms Collins said.
Mark Mitchell (right) with Judith Collins and Christopher Luxon at a Special Luncheon held at the Indian Newslink offices on April 30, 2021 (INL Photo by Narendra Bedekar)