7 Dec 2020

Christchurch mosque attacks report: Government to respond tomorrow

5:06 pm on 7 December 2020

The government will release some initial responses to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks when the report is tabled tomorrow, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Watch Ardern speaking to media after today's Cabinet meeting:

She says a "coordinating minister" will be appointed to take responsibility for implementing recommendations of the Royal Commission investigation into the Christchurch mosque terror attacks.

Ardern says the report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the mosque attacks will be tabled at Parliament tomorrow.

It will be a difficult few weeks for some people, she says.

"As part of the tabling process, the government will release some very initial responses to the findings and recommendations ... some of the recommendations will take a longer time for us to develop a response to."

She says it will take "some time" for the government to implement some of the findings, while others could be implemented quite quickly.

She met with the Muslim community yesterday and acknowledged they wanted to see accountability in terms of implementing the findings.

She says the government will provide them with information on how the findings will be coordinated.

'A week of heartache'

Given the anniversary of the Whakaari / White Island eruption on Wednesday, and the release of the report which "very much revisits" the tragedy of 15 March 2019, Ardern acknowledges this is a week of heartache for New Zealand.

She says the Royal Commission's report made for tough reading for her, and will for those who were involved in the response as well.

She will be in Whakatāne on Wednesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Whakaari/White Island eruption.

The people who were injured in the eruption, lost loved ones or were affected in some way, will be in New Zealanders' thoughts tomorrow, as the nation marks the one-year anniversary, Ardern says.

She says the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is looking at adventure tourism in New Zealand and whether the current framework "is doing its job".

More work to do on pay parity

After the announcement of an inquiry into the pay gap between Pasifika people and the rest of New Zealand, Ardern says there is "a lot of work to do" regading pay parity in New Zealand.

The government has already done some work in this area, for clerical workers and teacher aides, but still has a lot more work to do, Ardern says.

Covid-19 response

Ardern says the government has continued to work on technological tools that help with contact tracing, including Bluetooth technology.

The government has discussed shorter stays in managed isolation for people from low-risk countries, but would have to reconfigure the operation as those on shorter stays would have to stay at separate hotels from people from high-risk countries.

Ardern says no decision has been made on that yet. She thanked assistant chief of the Defence Force, Air Commodore Digby Webb and all the people who work in the managed isolation facilities, saying New Zealand owed them "a debt of gratitude".

No country will finish its immunisation programme by 2021, she says.

"For our immunisation programme and indeed for the world, the most important thing won't be the date a country starts, it will be the date they finish."

At this point, she says, some of the things required to keep everyone safe will be able to start to change.

The data for what vaccines do for transmission between people is still needed, she says.

House prices

Ardern says the government wants people's incomes to keep pace with the rise in house prices.

"We saw in 2018 a situation where wages were finally outstripping house price growth and so of course that has impacts on issues like affordability."

The annual house price growth during the last government was around 4 percent, she said.

"Recently of course, we've seen that growth grow considerably in a very short space of time."

It's all about relative growth, she says.

"We don't want to see the significant increases, the huge jumps in house price growth that means that it becomes out of reach for people as their incomes don't keep pace."

"The growth that we're seeing is just unsustainable."

Further comments

In regards to The Safety Warehouse's "cash" drop at the weekend, Ardern says she "cannot fathom how somebody would think that was a good idea".

"Clearly it was not. And it's caused harm, it's caused hurt - they should apologise."

On Thursday Ardern will launch a new pilot programme in Rotorua which will enhance support for new parents, the first Well Child Tamaraiki programme of its kind to be established.

Parents will receive intensive support in pregnancy and the first years of their child's lives.

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