WELLINGTON, June 15: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern opened the country’s first meeting on Countering Terrorism & Violent Extremism, which is being held in Christchurch over the next two days.
The meeting of “a country at peace” will look at “how we can all contribute to making our country more inclusive and safe”, Ardern said.
The meeting will be held annually, promoting public conversation, understanding, and research on radicalization.
It will look at ways to challenge hate-motivated extremist ideologies and discuss priorities to address issues of Countering Terrorism & Violent Extremism, she said.
“This inaugural hui (meeting) brings together community, civil society, academia, the private sector, and government to listen, share and learn – both knowledge and experiences,” the Prime Minister added.
New Zealand witnessed one of its worst terrorist attacks on March 15, 2019, when a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch.
The attacker, Australian self-declared white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole, the first person in New Zealand’s history to receive the sentence.
His sentencing marked the first terrorism conviction in New Zealand’s history.
The massacre also prompted New Zealand to reform its gun laws.