In New Zealand, we thought or at least hoped that terrorist attacks of this scale would never happen here – but now they have, and we have to adapt
Editorial – April / May’19
The recent atrocities in Christchurch – in a city that has suffered so much already – have called into question our systems and procedures for managing terrorist attacks.
New Zealand changed forever on the afternoon of Friday 15 March when a ‘lone wolf’ gunman entered a Christchurch city mosque with an automatic weapon and opened fire on the people inside. He then drove across the city centre and attacked another mosque, killing and injuring many more.
It was only through the incredible bravery and quick thinking of two police officers that the gunman was apprehended before he could commit even more unspeakable acts across the city.
The response from the NZ Police was incredible: first responders were armed and on the scene within six minutes, and the armed offender squad arrived within 10 minutes. But it took almost an hour for every city school and public building to be confirmed as being in lockdown.
Over the coming weeks and months there will be a number of logistical issues that will be raised as a result of this terrible tragedy – including the systems at our public spaces for securing premises against a potential terrorist attack.
Another area of concern will be the security of our regional air services. Air New Zealand was forced to cancel its turboprop services from Christchurch following the shootings, saying it was “not possible to screen customers and their baggage”. How will our aviation security services react to this new level of threat?
In New Zealand, we thought or at least hoped that terrorist attacks of this scale would never happen here – but now they have, and we have to adapt.
Finally, our sincere condolences to the Dexion NZ team after the sudden passing of their business leader, Craig Landon. We were shocked and saddened by the news as we had many dealings with Craig over the years. He was an astute businessman and a true gentleman. The industry will miss him.
Until next time …
Lynne Richardson, editor