10 Sep 2019

Simon Bridges says Christchurch Call 'was a big talkfest in Paris'

4:20 pm on 10 September 2019

The National Party leader says everyday New Zealanders don't care about the Christchurch Call and how it aims to eradicate extremism and terrorism online.

Simon Bridges and Jacinda Ardern

National Party leader Simon Bridges and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ

The Christchurch Call, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, brings together governments and tech companies to try to prevent events like the live streaming of the Christchurch mosque terror attack from happening again.

But Simon Bridges said the measles outbreak, education and roads were of much greater concern to Kiwis.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey was in Wellington yesterday to meet with Ms Ardern following the Christchurch Call summit in Paris earlier this year.

His visit was ahead of further planned announcements at the United Nations this month.

Mr Bridges said a "talkfest with Jack from Twitter" wasn't going to make a difference to whether or not events like the death of 51 Muslims in Christchurch would happen again.

Mr Bridges said his comments were not related to whether or not it's fine for gunmen to post manifestos online.

"That is a very different proposition from putting the focus on Twitter and all these social media things rather than on the things New Zealanders, actually everyday New Zealanders are concerned about - like health and measles,'' he said.

On the Christchurch Call, he said: "I think it was a big talkfest in Paris that has achieved nothing."

Mr Bridges' comments were unprompted by media this morning.

He said while the Christchurch Call was a focus for Ms Ardern - it was not for New Zealanders.

But Ms Ardern said the fact 10,000 New Zealanders reached out for help in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks proved the Christchurch Call was worthwhile.

She said it was on the government to do something for the victims of the mosque attacks and others impacted by it.

"We have a duty of care to the victims of March 15th but to every New Zealander who saw that footage and was distressed by it to do something about this for everyone else."

Yesterday Ms Ardern spoke to Mr Dorsey about 8Chan, the platform that was used by the accused Christchurch gunman to spread his manifesto, and currently has its own Twitter account.

"We had quite a long conversation about the existence of that platform and other platforms like it, certainly sensed an awareness of the issue," Ms Ardern told media yesterday.

"I think we will certainly have an ongoing conversation about it, but there is the added issue of if not that platform, will we see another rise up?" she said.

Ms Ardern said progress made around the Christchurch Call would be announced at the UN General Assembly next week.

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